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

Aunt Jane's Nieces

Patricia drew him up, until he seized the plank with his hands. Then

the girl crept back a little, and as the boy swung his feet upward she

caught them and twined his legs over the plank.

And now came the supreme struggle. The girl could do little more to

help him. He must manage to clamber upon the top of the plank himself.

Ordinarily Kenneth might have done this easily; but now his nerves

were all unstrung, and he was half exhausted by the strain of the past

few minutes. Almost he did it; but not quite. The next effort would be

even weaker. But now Patricia walked out upon the plank and Aunt Jane

saw her lean down, grasp the boy's collar and drag him into a position

of safety.

"Bravely done!" she murmured, but even as the sound came from her lips

the girl upon the bridge seemed in the exertion of the struggle to

lose her balance. She threw out her arms, leaned sidewise, and then

fell headlong into the chasm and disappeared from view.

Aunt Jane's agonized scream brought Phibbs running to her side. At

a glance she saw that her mistress had fainted, and looking hastily

around to discover the cause she observed the boy crawl slowly across

the plank, reach the tree, and slide down its trunk to pass out of

view behind the high hedge.

"Drat the boy!" growled the old servant, angrily, "he'll be the death

of Miss Jane, yet."



Uncle John could not run so swiftly as the lawyer, but he broke

through a gap in the hedge and arrived at a point just beneath the

plank at the same time that Silas Watson did.

One glance showed them the boy safely perched on top of the plank,

but the girl was bending backward. She threw out her arms in a vain

endeavor to save herself, and with a low cry toppled and plunged

swiftly toward the ground.

There was little time for the men to consider their actions.

Involuntarily they tried to catch Patricia, whose body struck them

sharply, felling them to the ground, and then bounded against the

hedge and back to the pavement.

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