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

Aunt Jane's Nieces

He was powerful fond of young Master Tom. But then, we all

was."

"Poor man!" said Beth.

"After that," resumed Misery, "all that James would do was to look

after the flowers. Miss Jane, after she came, made him the head

gardener, and he's proved a rare good one, too. But James he won't

even talk to Miss Jane, nor even to his old friend Lawyer Watson, who

used to be Master Tom's special chum an' comrade. He does his duty,

and obeys all Miss Jane's orders as faithful as can be; but he won't

talk, an' we've all give up tryin' to make him."

"But why should I frighten him?" asked the girl.

"You tried to make him talk, and you're a stranger. Strangers always

affect James that way. I remember when Miss Jane first came to

Elmhurst he screamed at the sight of her; but when he found out that

Master Tom loved her and had given her Elmhurst, James followed her

around like a dog, and did everything she told him to. But breakfast

is ready, Miss. I came to call you."

"Thank you," said Beth, turning to walk beside the housekeeper.

According to Aunt Jane's instructions the breakfast was served in her

own room, and presently Louise, dressed in a light silk kimona, came

in bearing her tray "to keep her cousin company," she laughingly

announced.

"I should have slept an hour longer," she yawned, over her chocolate,

"but old Misery--who seems rightly named--insisted on waking me, just

that I might eat. Isn't this a funny establishment?"

"It's different from everything I'm used to," answered Beth, gravely;

"but it seems very pleasant here, and everyone is most kind and

attentive."

"Now I'll dress," said Louise, "and we'll take a long walk together,

and see the place."

So it happened that Kenneth clattered down the road on the sorrel mare

just a moment before the girls emerged from the house, and while he

was riding off his indignation at their presence at Elmhurst, they

were doing just what his horrified imagination had depicted--that is,

penetrating to all parts of the grounds, to every nook in the spacious

old gardens and even to the stables, where Beth endeavored to make a

friend of old Donald the coachman.

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