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

Aunt Jane's Nieces

"There was a time, years ago," she began in a low voice, "when you

were very rich and your sister Violet, my mother, was very poor. Her

health was bad, and she had me to care for, while my father was very

ill with a fever. She was proud, too, and for herself she would never

have begged a penny of anyone; but for my sake she asked her rich

sister to loan her a little money to tide her over her period of want.

What did you do, Jane Merrick, you who lived in a beautiful mansion,

and had more money than you could use? You insulted her, telling her

she belonged to a family of beggars, and that none of them could

wheedle your money away from you!"

"It was true," retorted the elder woman, stubbornly. "They were after

me like a drove of wolves--every Merrick of them all--and they would

have ruined me if I had let them bleed me as they wished."

"So far as my mother is concerned, that's a lie," said Patsy, quietly.

"She never appealed to you but that once, but worked as bravely as she

could to earn money in her own poor way. The result was that she died,

and I was left to the care of strangers until my father was well

enough to support me."

She paused, and again the room seemed unnaturally still.

"I'm sorry, girl," said Aunt Jane, at last, in trembling tones. "I was

wrong. I see it now, and I am sorry I refused Violet."

"Then I forgive you!" said Patsy, impulsively. "I forgive you all,

Aunt Jane; for through your own selfishness you cut yourself off from

all your family--from all who might have loved you--and you have lived

all these years a solitary and loveless life. There'll be no grudge

of mine to follow you to the grave, Aunt Jane. But," her voice

hardening, "I'll never touch a penny of the money that was denied my

poor dead mother. Thank God the old Dad and I are independent, and can

earn our own living."

Uncle John came to where Patsy stood and put both arms around her,

pressing her--crutches and all--close to his breast. Then he released

her, and without a word stalked from the room.

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