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

Aunt Jane's Nieces

I am just

seventeen years of age--although I feel that I ought to be thirty, at

the least--and in three years I shall be twenty, and a married woman.

You decided to divide our capital into three equal parts, and spend a

third of it each year, this plan enabling us to live in good style and

to acquire a certain social standing that will allow me to select a

wealthy husband. It's a very brilliant idea, my dear! Three years is a

long time. I'll find my Croesus long before that, never fear."

"You ought to," returned the mother, thoughtfully. "But if you fail,

we shall be entirely ruined."

"A strong incentive to succeed." said Louise, smiling. "An ordinary

girl might not win out; but I've had my taste of poverty, and I don't

like it. No one will suspect us of being adventurers, for as long as

we live in this luxurious fashion we shall pay our bills promptly and

be proper and respectable in every way. The only chance we run lies in

the danger that eligible young men may prove shy, and refuse to take

our bait; but are we not diplomats, mother dear? We won't despise a

millionaire, but will be content with a man who can support us in good

style, or even in comfort, and in return for his money I'll be a very

good wife to him. That seems sensible and wise, I'm sure, and not at

all difficult of accomplishment."

Mrs. Merrick stared silently out of the window, and for a few moments

seemed lost in thought.

"I think, Louise," she said at last, "you will do well to cultivate

your rich aunt, and so have two strings to your bow."

"You mean that I should accept her queer invitation to visit her?"

"Yes."

"She has sent me a check for a hundred dollars. Isn't it funny?"

"Jane was always a whimsical woman. Perhaps she thinks we are quite

destitute, and fears you would not be able to present a respectable

appearance at Elmhurst without this assistance. But it is an evidence

of her good intentions. Finding death near at hand she is obliged to

select an heir, and so invites you to visit her that she may study

your character and determine whether you are worthy to inherit her

fortune.

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