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

Aunt Jane's Nieces at Millville

CHAPTER I.

UNCLE JOHN'S FARM.

"How did I happen to own a farm?" asked Uncle John, interrupting his

soup long enough to fix an inquiring glance upon Major Doyle, who

sat opposite.

"By virtue of circumstance, my dear sir," replied the Major, composedly.

"It's a part of my duty, in attending to those affairs you won't look

afther yourself, to lend certain sums of your money to needy and

ambitious young men who want a start in life."

"Oh, Uncle! Do you do that?" exclaimed Miss Patricia Doyle, who sat

between her uncle and father and kept an active eye upon both.

"So the Major says," answered Uncle John, dryly.

"And it's true," asserted the other. "He's assisted three or four score

young men to start in business in the last year, to my certain

knowledge, by lending them sums ranging from one to three thousand

dollars. And it's the most wasteful and extravagant charity I ever

heard of."

"But I'm so glad!" cried Patsy, clapping her hands with a delighted

gesture. "It's a splendid way to do good--to help young men to get a

start in life. Without capital, you know, many a young fellow would

never get his foot on the first round of the ladder."

"And many will never get it there in any event," declared the Major,

with a shake of his grizzled head. "More than half the rascals that John

helps go to the dogs entirely, and hang us up for all they've borrowed."

"I told you to help _deserving_ young men," remarked Uncle John, with a

scowl at his brother-in-law.

"And how can I tell whether they're desarving or not?" retorted Major

Doyle, fiercely. "Do ye want me to become a sleuth, or engage detectives

to track the objects of your erroneous philanthropy? I just have to form

a judgment an' take me chances; and whin a poor devil goes wrong I

charge your account with the loss."

"But some of them must succeed," ventured Patsy, in a conciliatory tone.

"Some do," said John Merrick; "and that repays me for all my trouble."

"All _your_ throuble, sir?" queried the Major; "you mane all _my_

throuble--well, and your money.

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