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

Aunt Jane's Nieces

I'm a hair-dresser, you know--and by the way, Aunt Jane, it

puzzles me to find a certain kink in your hair that I thought I'd

invented myself."

"Louise dressed my hair this way," said Miss Merrick, a bit stiffly.

"Your maid?"

"My niece, Louise Merrick."

Patsy whistled, and then clapped her hand over her mouth and looked


"Is she here?" she asked, a moment later.

"Yes, and your other cousin, Elizabeth De Graf, is here also."

"That's just the trouble," cried Patsy, energetically. "That's why I

didn't want to come, you know."

"I don't understand you, Patricia."

"Why, it's as plain as the nose on your face, even if I hadn't pumped

Mr. Watson until I got the truth out of him. You want us girls here

just to compare us with each other, and pick out the one you like



"The others you'll throw over, and the favorite will get your money."

"Haven't I a right to do that?" asked the invalid, in an amazed tone.

"Perhaps you have. But we may as well understand each other right

now, Aunt Jane. I won't touch a penny of your money, under any


"I don't think you will, Patricia."

The girl laughed, with a joyous, infectious merriment that was hard to


"Stick to that, aunt, and there's no reason we shouldn't be friends,"

she said, pleasantly. "I don't mind coming to see you, for it will

give me a bit of a rest and the country is beautiful just now. More

than that, I believe I shall like you. You've had your own way a long

time, and you've grown crochetty and harsh and disagreeable; but there

are good lines around your mouth and eyes, and your nature's liable to

soften and get sunny again. I'm sure I hope so. So, if you'd like me

to stay a few days, I'll take off my things and make myself at home.

But I'm out of the race for your money, and I'll pay my way from now

on just as I have always done."

Silas Watson watched Aunt Jane's face during this speech with an

anxious and half-frightened expression upon his own. No one but

himself had ever dared to talk to Jane Merrick as plainly as this

before, and he wondered how she would accept such frankness from a

young girl.

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