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Main > Fairy tale > All authors > Frank Baum > Fairy tale "Aunt Jane's Nieces"

Aunt Jane's Nieces

A moment later she was rubbing the lotion upon the poor

creature's swollen feet, paying no attention to Martha's horrified


"There. Now they're sure to feel better," said Beth, pulling the worn

and darned stockings upon the woman's feet again. "And you must take

this bottle to your room, and use it every night and morning."

"Bless your dear heart!" cried Phibbs, while tears of gratitude stood

in her faded eyes. "I'm sure I feel twenty years younger, a'ready. But

you shouldn't 'a' done it, miss; indeed you shouldn't."

"I'm glad to help you," said Beth, rinsing her hands at the wash stand

and drying them upon a towel. "It would be cruel to let you suffer

when I can ease your pain."

"But what would Miss Jane say?" wailed old Martha, throwing up her

hands in dismay.

"She'll never know a thing about it. It's our secret, Martha, and I'm

sure if I ever need a friend you'll do as much for me."

"I'll do anything for you, Miss Elizabeth," was the reply, as the

woman took the bottle of lotion and departed.

Beth smiled.

"That was not a bad thought," she said to herself, again starting for

the gardens. "I have made a firm friend and done a kindly action at

the same time--and all while Cousin Louise is fast asleep."

The housekeeper let her out at the side door, after Beth had pressed

her hand and kissed her good morning.

"You're looking quite bonny, my dear," said the old woman. "Do you

feel at home, at all, in this strange place?"

"Not quite, as yet," answered Beth. "But I know I have one good friend

here, and that comforts me."

She found a path between high hedges, that wandered away through the

grounds, and along this she strolled until she reached a rose arbor

with a comfortable bench.

Here she seated herself, looking around her curiously. The place

seemed little frequented, but was kept with scrupulous care. Even

at this hour, a little way off could be heard the "click-click!" of

hedge-shears, and Beth noted how neatly the paths were swept, and how

carefully every rose on the arbor was protected.

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