“Upon my word, Rosy, I begin to feel like the man who bought an elephant, and then didn’t know what to do with him. I thought I had got a pet and plaything for years to come; but here you are growing up like a bean-stalk, and I shall find I’ve got a strong-minded little woman on my hands before I can turn round. There’s predicament for a man and an uncle!”

Dr. Alec’s comic distress was mercifully relieved for the time being by a dance of goblins on the lawn, where the children, with pumpkin lanterns on their heads, frisked about like will-o’-the-wisps, as a parting surprise.

When Rose went to bed, she found that Uncle Alec had not forgotten her; for on the table stood a delicate little easel, holding two miniatures set in velvet. She knew them both, and stood looking at them till her eyes brimmed over with tears that were both sweet and sad; for they were the faces of her father and mother, beautifully copied from portraits fast fading away.

Presently, she knelt down, and, putting her arms round the little shrine, kissed one after the other, saying with an earnest voice, “I’ll truly try to make them glad to see me by and by.”

And that was Rose’s little prayer on the night of her fourteenth birthday.

Two days later the Campbells went home, a larger party than when they came; for Dr. Alec was escort and Kitty Comet was borne in state in a basket, with a bottle of milk, some tiny sandwiches, and a doll’s dish to drink out of, as well as a bit of carpet to lie on in her palace car, out of which she kept popping her head in the most fascinating manner.

There was a great kissing and cuddling, waving of handkerchiefs, and last good-byes, as they went; and when they had started, Mother Atkinson came running after them, to tuck in some little pies, hot from the oven, “for the dears, who might get tired of bread and butter during that long day’s travel.”

Another start, and another halt; for the Snow children came shrieking up to demand the three kittens that Pokey was cooly carrying off in a travelling bag. The unhappy kits were rescued, half smothered, and restored to their lawful owners, amid dire lamentation from the little kidnapper, who declared that she only “tooked um ’cause they’d want to go wid their sister Tomit.”

Start number three and stoppage number three, as Frank hailed them with the luncheon basket, which had been forgotten, after everyone had protested that it was safely in.

All went well after that, and the long journey was pleasantly beguiled by Pokey and Pussy, who played together so prettily that they were considered public benefactors.

“Rose doesn’t want to go home, for she knows the aunts won’t let her rampage as she did up at Cosey Corner,” said Mac, as they approached the old house.

“I can’t rampage if I want to—for a time, at least; and I’ll tell you why. I sprained my ankle when I tumbled off of Barkis, and it gets worse and worse; though I’ve done all I know to cure it and hide it, so it shouldn’t trouble anyone,” whispered Rose, knitting her brows with pain, as she prepared to descend, wishing her uncle would take her instead of her bundles.

How he did it, she never knew; but Mac had her up the steps and on the parlour sofa before she could put her foot to the ground.

“There you are—right side up with care; and mind, now, if your ankle bothers you, and you are laid up with it, I am to be your footman. It’s only fair, you know; for I don’t forget how good you have been to me.” And Mac went to call Phebe, so full of gratitude and good-will that his very goggles shone.

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