Perhaps I can help you, began Uncle Alec, in the most respectful tone.
I think you had better, for if I have got to keep accounts I may as well begin in the right way. But please dont laugh! I know Im very stupid, and my book is a disgrace, but I never could get it straight. And with great trepidation, Rose gave up her funny little accounts.
It really was good in Dr. Alec not to laugh, and Rose felt deeply grateful when he said in a mildly suggestive tone
The dollars and cents seem to be rather mixed, perhaps if I just straightened them out a bit we should find things all right.
Please do, and then show me on a fresh leaf how to make mine look nice and ship-shape as yours do.
As Rose stood by him watching the ease with which he quickly brought order out of chaos, she privately resolved to hunt up her old arithmetic and perfect herself in the four first rules, with a good tug at fractions, before she read any more fairy tales.
Am I a rich girl, uncle? she asked suddenly, as he was copying a column of figures.
Rather a poor one, I should say, since you had to borrow a ninepence.
That was your fault, because you forgot my pocket-money. But, really, shall I be rich by and by?
I am afraid you will.
Why afraid, uncle?
Too much money is a bad thing.
But I can give it away, you know; that is always the pleasantest part of having it I think.
Im glad you feel so, for you can do much good with your fortune if you know how to use it well.
You shall teach me, and when I am a woman we will set up a school where nothing but the three Rs shall be taught, and all the children live on oatmeal, and the girls have waists a yard round, said Rose, with a sudden saucy smile dimpling her cheeks.
You are an impertinent little baggage, to turn on me in that way right in the midst of my first attempt at teaching. Never mind, Ill have an extra bitter dose for you next time, miss.
I knew you wanted to laugh, so I gave you a chance. Now, I will be good, master, and do my lesson nicely.
So Dr. Alec had his laugh, and then Rose sat down and took a lesson in accounts which she never forgot.
Now come and read aloud to me; my eyes are tired, and it is pleasant to sit here by the fire while the rain pours outside and Aunt Jane lectures upstairs, said Uncle Alec, when last months accounts had been put in good order and a fresh page neatly begun.
Rose liked to read aloud, and gladly gave him the chapter in Nicholas Nickleby where the Miss Kenwigses take their French lesson. She did her very best, feeling that she was being criticised, and hoping that she might not be found wanting in this as in other things.
Shall I go on, sir? she asked very meekly, when the chapter ended.
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