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

Aunt Jane's Nieces

The two girls became rather uneasy during the days their cousin spent

in the society of Aunt Jane. Even the dreadful accounts they received

from Phibbs failed wholly to reassure them, and Louise redoubled her

solicitious attentions to her aunt in order to offset the influence

Patricia seemed to be gaining over her.

Louise had also become, by this time, the managing housekeeper of

the establishment, and it was certain that Aunt Jane looked upon her

eldest and most competent niece with much favor.

Beth, with all her friends to sing her praises, seemed to make less

headway with her aunt than either of the others, and gradually she

sank into a state of real despondency.

"I've done the best I could," she wrote her mother, "but I'm not as

clever as Louise nor as amusing as Patricia; so Aunt Jane pays little

attention to me. She's a dreadful old woman, and I can't bring myself

to appear to like her. That probably accounts for my failure; but I

may as well stay on here until something happens."

In a fortnight more Patricia abandoned her chair and took to crutches,

on which she hobbled everywhere as actively as the others walked. She

affected her cousins' society more, from this time, and Aunt Jane's

society less, for she had come to be fond of the two girls who had

nursed her so tenderly, and it was natural that a young girl would

prefer to be with those of her own age rather than a crabbed old woman

like Aunt Jane.

Kenneth also now became Patsy's faithful companion, for the boy had

lost his former bashfulness and fear of girls, and had grown to feel

at ease even in the society of Beth and Louise. The four had many

excursions and picnics into the country together; but Kenneth and

Patsy were recognized as especial chums, and the other girls did not

interfere in their friendship except to tease them, occasionally, in a

good natured way.

The boy's old acquaintances could hardly recognize him as the same

person they had known before Patricia's adventure on the plank. His

fits of gloomy abstraction and violent bursts of temper had alike

vanished, or only prevailed at brief intervals.

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