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

Aunt Jane's Nieces

Between his teeth was a

black brier pipe, which he puffed lazily.

Beth was for drawing back, but Louise took her arm and drew her

forward.

"Isn't this Uncle John?" she asked.

The little man turned his eyes upon them, withdrew his hands from his

pockets and his pipe from his mouth, and then bowed profoundly.

"If you are my nieces, then I am Uncle John," he said, affably. "Sit

down, my dears, and let us get acquainted."

Louise smiled, and her rapid survey took in the man's crumpled and

somewhat soiled shirt-front, the frayed black necktie that seemed to

have done years of faithful service, and the thick and dusty cow-hide

boots. His clothing was old and much worn, and the thought crossed

her mind that Oscar the groom was far neater in appearance than this

newly-found relative.

Beth merely noticed that Uncle John was neither dignified nor imposing

in appearance. She sat down beside him--leaving a wide space between

them--with a feeling of disappointment that he was "like all the rest

of the Merricks."

"You have just arrived, we hear," remarked Louise.

"Yes. Walked up from the station this forenoon," said Uncle John.

"Come to see Jane, you know, but hadn't any idea I'd find two nieces.

Hadn't any idea I possessed two nieces, to be honest about it."

"I believe you have three," said Louise, in an, amused tone.

"Three? Who's the other?"

"Why, Patricia Doyle."

"Doyle? Doyle? Don't remember the name."

"I believe your sister Violet married a man named Doyle."

"So she did. Captain Doyle--or Major Doyle--or some such fellow. But

what is your name?"

"I am Louise Merrick, your brother Will's daughter."

"Oh! And you?" turning to Beth.

"My mother was Julia Merrick," said Beth, not very graciously. "She

married Professor DeGraf. I am Elizabeth DeGraf."

"Yes, yes," observed Uncle John, nodding his head. "I remember Julia

very well, as a girl. She used to put on a lot of airs, and jaw father

because he wouldn't have the old top-buggy painted every spring. Same

now as ever, I s'pose?

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