I should very much, if you could work as well as she does, and show as strong a pair of arms as she can. I havent seen a prettier picture for some time than she made of herself this morning, up to the elbows in suds, singing like a blackbird whilst she scrubbed on the back stoop.
Well, I do think you are the queerest man that ever lived! was all Rose could find to say after this display of bad taste.
I havent begun to show you my oddities yet, so you must make up your mind to worse shocks than this, he said, with such a whimsical look that she was glad the sound of a bell prevented her showing more plainly what a blow her little vanities had already received.
You will find your box all open up in aunties parlor, and there you can amuse her and yourself by rummaging to your hearts content; Ive got to be cruising round all the morning getting my room to rights, said Dr. Alec, as they rose from breakfast.
Cant I help you, uncle? asked Rose, quite burning to be useful.
No, thank you, Im going to borrow Phebe for a while, if Aunt Plenty can spare her.
Anybodyanything, Alec. You will want me, I know, so Ill give orders about dinner and be all ready to lend a hand; and the old lady bustled away full of interest and good-will.
Uncle will find that I can do some things that Phebe cant, so now! thought Rose, with a toss of the head as she flew to Aunt Peace and the long-desired box.
Every little girl can easily imagine what an extra good time she had diving into a sea of treasures and fishing up one pretty thing after another, till the air was full of the mingled odours of musk and sandalwood, the room gay with bright colours, and Rose in a rapture of delight. She began to forgive Dr. Alec for the oatmeal diet when she saw a lovely ivory workbox; became resigned to the state of her belt when she found a pile of rainbow-coloured sashes; and when she came to some distractingly pretty bottles of attar of rose, she felt that they almost atoned for the great sin of thinking Phebe the finer girl of the two.
Dr. Alec meanwhile had apparently taken Aunt Plenty at her word, and was turning the house upside down. A general revolution was evidently going on in the green-room, for the dark damask curtains were seen bundling away in Phebes arms; the air-tight stove retiring to the cellar on Bens shoulder; and the great bedstead going up garret in a fragmentary state, escorted by three bearers. Aunt Plenty was constantly on the trot among her store-rooms, camphor-chests, and linen-closets, looking as if the new order of things both amazed and amused her.
Half the peculiar performances of Dr. Alec cannot be revealed; but as Rose glanced up from her box now and then she caught glimpses of him striding by, bearing a bamboo chair, a pair of ancient andirons, a queer Japanese screen, a rug or two, and finally a large bathing-pan upon his head.
What a curious room it will be, she said, as she sat resting and refreshing herself with Lumps of Delight, all the way from Cairo.
I fancy you will like it, deary, answered Aunt Peace, looking up with a smile from some pretty trifle she was making with blue silk and white muslin.
Rose did not see the smile, for just at that moment her uncle paused at the door, and she sprang up to dance before him, saying, with a face full of childish happiness
Look at me! look at me! Im splendid I dont know myself. I havent put these things on right, I dare say, but I do like them so much!
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