“Ah, Mac, that’s just what I keep lecturing about, and people won’t listen. You lads need that sort of knowledge so much, and fathers and mothers ought to be able to give it to you. Few of them are able, and so we all go blundering, as you say. Less Greek and Latin and more knowledge of the laws of health for my boys, if I had them. Mathematics are all very well, but morals are better, and I wish, how I wish that I could help teachers and parents to feel it as they ought.”

“Some do; Aunt Jessie and her boys have capital talks, and I wish we could; but mother’s so busy with her housekeeping, and father with his business, there never seems to be any time for that sort of thing; even if there was, it don’t seem as if it would be easy to talk to them, because we’ve never got into the way of it, you know.”

Poor Mac was right there, and expressed a want that many a boy and girl feels. Fathers and mothers are too absorbed in business and housekeeping to study their children, and cherish that sweet and natural confidence which is a child’s surest safeguard, and a parent’s subtlest power. So the young hearts hide trouble or temptation till the harm is done, and mutual regret comes too late. Happy the boys and girls who tell all things freely to father or mother, sure of pity, help, and pardon; and thrice happy the parents who, out of their own experience, and by their own virtues, can teach and uplift the souls for which they are responsible.

This longing stirred in the hearts of Rose and Mac, and by a natural impulse both turned to Dr. Alec, for in this queer world of ours, fatherly and motherly hearts often beat warm and wise in the breasts of bachelor uncles and maiden aunts; and it is my private opinion that these worthy creatures are a beautiful provision of nature for the cherishing of other people’s children. They certainly get great comfort out of it, and receive much innocent affection that otherwise would be lost.

Dr. Alec was one of these, and his big heart had room for every one of the eight cousins, especially orphaned Rose and afflicted Mac; so, when the boy uttered that unconscious reproach to his parents, and Rose added with a sigh, “It must be beautiful to have a mother!”—the good Doctor yearned over them, and, shutting his book with a decided slam, said in that cordial voice of his—

“Now, look here, children, you just come and tell me all your worries, and with God’s help, I’ll settle them for you. That is what I’m here for, I believe, and it will be a great happiness to me if you can trust me.”

“We can, uncle, and we will!” both answered, with a heartiness that gratified him much.

“Good! now school is dismissed, and I advise you to go and refresh your 600,000,000 air cells by a brisk run in the garden. Come again whenever you like, Mac, and we’ll teach you all we can about your ‘works,’ as you call them, so you can keep them running smoothly.”

“We’ll come, sir, much obliged,” and the class in physiology went out to walk.

Mac did come again, glad to find something he could study in spite of his weak eyes, and learned much that was of more value than anything his school had ever taught thim.

Of course, the other lads made great fun of the whole thing, and plagued Dr. Alec’s students half out of their lives. But they kept on persistently, and one day something happened which made the other fellows behave themselves for ever after.

It was a holiday, and Rose up in her room thought she heard the voices of her cousins, so she ran down to welcome them, but found no one there.

“Never mind, they will be here soon, and then we’ll have a frolic,” she said to herself, and thinking she had been mistaken she went into the study to wait. She was lounging over the table looking at a map when an odd noise caught her ear. A gentle tapping somewhere, and following the sound it seemed to

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