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

Aunt Jane's Nieces

The boy

has a better right than any of us to inherit Elmhurst."

"Then why did Aunt Jane send for us?"

"It's a mystery, dear. Let us try to solve it."

"Come; we'll ask the housekeeper," said Beth. "I'm sure old Misery

will tell us all we want to know."

So they returned to the house and, with little difficulty, found the

old housekeeper.

"Master Kenneth?" she exclaimed. "Why, he's just Master Tom's nephew,

that's all."

"Is this his home?" asked Beth.

"All the home he's got, my dear. His father and mother are both dead,

and Miss Jane took him to care for just because she thought Master Tom

would 'a' liked it."

"Is she fond of him?" enquired Louise.

"Fond of the boy? Why, Miss Jane just hates him, for a fact. She won't

even see him, or have him near her. So he keeps to his little room in

the left wing, and eats and sleeps there."

"It's strange," remarked Beth, thoughtfully. "Isn't he a nice boy?"

"We're all very fond of Master Kenneth," replied the housekeeper,

simply. "But I'll admit he's a queer lad, and has a bad temper. It may

be due to his lack of bringin' up, you know; for he just runs wild,

and old Mr. Chase, who comes from the village to tutor him, is a poor

lot, and lets the boy do as he pleases. For that reason he won't

study, and he won't work, and I'm sure I don't know whatever will

become of him, when Miss Jane dies."

"Thank you," said Beth, much relieved, and the girls walked away with

lighter hearts.

"There's no danger in that quarter, after all," said Louise, gaily.

"The boy is a mere hanger-on. You see, Aunt Jane's old sweetheart,

Thomas Bradley, left everything to her when he died, and she can do as

she likes with it."

After luncheon, which they ate alone and unattended save by the maid

Susan, who was old Misery's daughter, the girls walked away to

the rose arbor, where Beth declared they could read or sew quite


But sitting upon the bench they found a little old man, his legs

extended, his hands thrust deep into his pockets, and a look of calm

meditation upon his round and placid face.

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