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Aunt Jane's Nieces Out West

CHAPTER I

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"This is getting to be an amazing old world," said a young girl, still in

her "teens," as she musingly leaned her chin on her hand.

"It has always been an amazing old world, Beth," said another girl who

was sitting on the porch railing and swinging her feet in the air.

"True, Patsy," was the reply; "but the people are doing such peculiar

things nowadays."

"Yes, yes!" exclaimed a little man who occupied a reclining chair within

hearing distance; "that is the way with you young folks--always

confounding the world with its people."

"Don't the people make the world, Uncle John?" asked Patricia Doyle,

looking at him quizzically.

"No, indeed; the world could get along very well without its people; but

the people--"

"To be sure; they need the world," laughed Patsy, her blue eyes

twinkling so that they glorified her plain, freckled face.

"Nevertheless," said Beth de Graf, soberly, "I think the people have

struck a rapid pace these days and are growing bold and impudent. The law

appears to allow them too much liberty. After our experience of this

morning I shall not be surprised at anything that happens--especially in

this cranky state of California."

"To what experience do you allude, Beth?" asked Uncle John, sitting up

straight and glancing from one to another of his two nieces. He was a

genial looking, round-faced man, quite bald and inclined to be a trifle

stout; yet his fifty-odd years sat lightly upon him.

"Why, we had quite an adventure this morning," said Patsy, laughing

again at the recollection, and answering her uncle because Beth

hesitated to. "For my part, I think it was fun, and harmless fun, at

that; but Beth was scared out of a year's growth. I admit feeling a

little creepy at the time, myself; but it was all a joke and really we

ought not to mind it at all."

"Tell me all about it, my dear!" said Mr. Merrick, earnestly, for

whatever affected his beloved nieces was of prime importance to him.

"We were taking our morning stroll along the streets," began Patsy, "when

on turning a corner we came upon a crowd of people who seemed to be

greatly excited.

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