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

Aunt Jane's Nieces

Then Mr. Watson brought into the drawing room the tin box containing

the important Elmhurst papers in his possession, and having requested

all present to be seated he said:

"In order to clear up the uncertainty that at present exists

concerning Miss Merrick's last will and testament, I will now proceed

to read to you the document, which will afterward be properly probated

according to law."

There was no need to request their attention. An intense stillness

pervaded the room.

The lawyer calmly unlocked the tin box and drew out the sealed yellow

envelope which Miss Merrick had recently given him. Patsy's heart was

beating with eager expectancy. She watched the lawyer break the seal,

draw out the paper and then turn red and angry. He hesitated a moment,

and then thrust the useless document into its enclosure and cast it

aside.

"Is anything wrong?" asked the girl in a low whisper, which was yet

distinctly heard by all.

Mr. Watson seemed amazed. Jane Merrick's deceitful trickery,

discovered so soon after her death, was almost horrible for him to

contemplate. He had borne much from this erratic woman, but had never

believed her capable of such an act.

So he said, in irritable tones:

"Miss Merrick gave me this document a few days ago, leading me to

believe it was her last will. I had prepared it under her instruction

and understood that it was properly signed. But she has herself torn

off and destroyed the signature and marked the paper 'void,' so that

the will previously made is the only one that is valid."

"What do you mean?" cried Patsy, in amazement. "Isn't Kenneth to

inherit Elmhurst, after all?"

"Me! Me inherit?" exclaimed the boy.

"That is what she promised me," declared Patsy, while tears of

indignation stood in her eyes, "I saw her sign it, myself, and if she

has fooled me and destroyed the signature she's nothing but an old

fraud--and I'm glad she's dead!"

With this she threw herself, sobbing, upon a sofa, and Louise and

Beth, shocked to learn that after all their cousin had conspired

against them, forebore any attempt to comfort her.

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