You were appointed guardian, so we can do nothing. But I predict that the girl will be spoilt, utterly spoilt, answered Mrs. Jane, grimly.
Thank you, sister. I have an idea that if a woman can bring up two boys as perfectly as you do yours, a man, if he devotes his whole mind to it, may at least attempt as much with one girl, replied Dr. Alec, with a humorous look that tickled the others immensely, for it was a well-known fact in the family that Janes boys were more indulged than all the other lads put together.
I am quite easy, for I really do think that Alec will improve the childs health; and by the time his year is out, it will be quite soon enough for her to go to Madame Roccabellas and be finished off, said Aunt Clara, settling her rings, and thinking, with languid satisfaction, of the time when she could bring out a pretty and accomplished niece.
I suppose you will stay here in the old place, unless you think of marrying, and its high time you did, put in Mrs. Jane, much nettled at her brothers last hit.
No, thank you. Come and have a cigar, Mac, said Dr. Alec, abruptly.
Dont marry; women enough in the family already, muttered Uncle Mac; and then the gentlemen hastily fled.
Aunt Peace would like to see you all, she says, was the message Rose brought before the ladies could begin again.
Hectic, hectic!dear me, dear me! murmured Aunt Myra, as the shadow of her gloomy bonnet fell upon Rose, and the stiff tips of a black glove touched the cheek where the colour deepened under so many eyes.
I am glad these pretty curls are natural; they will be invaluable by and by, said Aunt Clara, taking an observation with her head on one side.
Now that your uncle has come, I no longer expect you to review the studies of the past year. I trust your time will not be entirely wasted in frivolous sports, however, added Aunt Jane, sailing out of the room with the air of a martyr.
Aunt Jessie said not a word, but kissed her little niece, with a look of tender sympathy that made Rose cling to her a minute, and follow her with grateful eyes as the door closed behind her.
After everybody had gone home, Dr. Alec paced up and down the lower hall in the twilight for an hour, thinking so intently that sometimes he frowned, sometimes he smiled, and more than once he stood still in a brown study. All of a sudden he said, half aloud, as if he had made up his mind
I might as well begin at once, and give the child something new to think about, for Myras dismals and Janes lectures have made her as blue as a little indigo bag.
Diving into one of the trunks that stood in a corner, he brought up, after a brisk rummage, a silken cushion, prettily embroidered, and a quaint cup of dark carved wood.
This will do for a start, he said, as he plumped up the cushion and dusted the cup. It wont do to begin too energetically, or Rose will be frightened. I must beguile her gently and pleasantly along till Ive won her confidence, and then she will be ready for anything.
Just then Phebe came out of the dining-room with a plate of brown bread, for Rose had been allowed no hot biscuit for tea.
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