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

Aunt Jane's Nieces

The little man seemed from the first much attracted by his three

nieces. Notwithstanding Louise's constant snubs and Beth's haughty

silence he was sure to meet them when they strolled out and try to

engage them in conversation. It was hard to resist his simple good

nature, and the girls came in time to accept him as an inevitable

companion, and Louise mischievously poked fun at him while Beth

conscientiously corrected him in his speech and endeavored to improve

his manners. All this seemed very gratifying to Uncle John. He thanked

Beth very humbly for her kind attention, and laughed with Louise when

she ridiculed his pudgy, round form and wondered if his bristly gray

hair wouldn't make a good scrubbing brush.

Patsy didn't get along very well with her cousins. From the first,

when Louise recognized her, with well assumed surprise, as "the girl

who had been sent to dress her hair," Patricia declared that their

stations in life were entirely different.

"There's no use of our getting mixed up, just because we're cousins

and all visiting Aunt Jane," she said. "One of you will get her money,

for I've told her I wouldn't touch a penny of it, and she has told me

I wouldn't get the chance. So one of you will be a great lady, while I

shall always earn my own living. I'll not stay long, anyhow; so just

forget I'm here, and I'll amuse myself and try not to bother you."

Both Beth and Louise considered this very sensible, and took Patricia

at her word. Moreover, Phibbs had related to Beth, whose devoted

adherent she was, all of the conversation between Aunt Jane and

Patricia, from which the girls learned they had nothing to fear from

their cousin's interference. So they let her go her way, and the three

only met at the state dinners, which Aunt Jane still attended, in

spite of her growing weakness.

Old Silas Watson, interested as he was in the result, found it hard to

decide, after ten days, which of her nieces Jane Merrick most favored.

Personally he preferred that Beth should inherit, and frankly told his

old friend that the girl would make the best mistress of Elmhurst.

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