Ill relieve you of some of that, said Dr. Alec, and, helping himself to a generous slice, he retired to the study, leaving Phebe to wonder at his appetite.
She would have wondered still more if she had seen him making that brown bread into neat little pills, which he packed into an attractive ivory box, out of which he emptied his own bits of lovage.
There! if they insist on medicine, Ill order these, and no harm will be done. I will have my own way, but Ill keep the peace, if possible, and confess the joke when my experiment has succeeded, he said to himself, looking very much like a mischievous boy, as he went on with his innocent prescriptions.
Rose was playing softly on the small organ that stood in the upper hall, so that Aunt Peace could enjoy it; and all the while he talked with the old ladies, Uncle Alec was listening to the fitful music of the child, and thinking of another Rose who used to play for him.
As the clock struck eight, he called out
Time for my girl to be abed, else she wont be up early, and Im full of jolly plans for to-morrow. Come and see what Ive found for you to begin upon.
Rose ran in and listened with bright attentive face, while Dr. Alec said impressively
In my wanderings over the face of the earth, I have picked up some excellent remedies, and, as they are rather agreeable ones, I think you and I will try them. This is a herb-pillow, given to me by a wise old woman when I was ill in India. It is filled with saffron, poppies, and other soothing plants; so lay your little head on it to-night, sleep sweetly without a dream, and wake to-morrow without a pain.
Shall I really? How nice it smells. And Rose willingly received the pretty pillow, and stood enjoying its faint, sweet odour, as she listened to the doctors next remedy.
This is the cup I told you of. Its virtue depends, they say, on the drinker filling it himself; so you must learn to milk. Ill teach you.
Im afraid I never can, said Rose; but she surveyed the cup with favour, for a funny little imp danced on the handle, as if all ready to take a header into the white sea below.
Dont you think she ought to have something more strengthening than milk, Alec? I really shall feel anxious if she does not have a tonic of some sort, said Aunt Plenty, eyeing the new remedies suspiciously, for she had more faith in her old-fashioned doses than all the magic cups and poppy pillows of the East.
Well, maam, Im willing to give her a pill, if you think best. It is a very simple one, and very large quantities may be taken without harm. You know hasheesh is the extract of hemp? Well, this is a preparation of corn and rye, much used in old times, and I hope it will be again.
Dear me, how singular! said Aunt Plenty, bringing her spectacles to bear upon the pills, with a face so full of respectful interest that it was almost too much for Dr. Alecs gravity.
Take one in the morning, and a good-night to you, my dear, he said, dismissing his patient with a hearty kiss.
Then, as she vanished, he put both hands into his hair, exclaiming, with a comical mixture of anxiety and amusement
When I think what I have undertaken, I declare to you, aunt, I feel like running away and not coming back till Rose is eighteen!
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