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are below, you know, so no one was disturbed, and I left him
"Thank you so much," sighed Rose. "And Brutus? Weren't they
frightened when he got back alone?"
"Not at all. The sagacious beast went quietly to the stable, and the
sleepy groom asked no questions, for Charlie often sends the horse
round by himself when it is late or stormy. Rest easy, dear no eye
but ours saw the poor lad come and go, and we'll forgive it for
"Yes, but not forget it. I never can, and he will never be again to
me the Charlie I've been so proud and fond of all these years. Oh,
Uncle, such a pity! Such a pity!"
"Don't break your tender heart about it, child, for it is not
incurable, thank God! I don't make light of it, but I am sure that
under better influences Charlie will redeem himself because his
impulses are good and this his only vice. I can hardly blame him
for what he is, because his mother did the harm. I declare to you,
Rose, I sometimes feel as if I must break out against that woman
and thunder in her ears that she is ruining the immortal soul for
which she is responsible to heaven!"
Dr. Alec seldom spoke in this way, and when he did it was rather
awful, for his indignation was of the righteous sort and such
thunder often rouses up a drowsy soul when sunshine has no
effect. Rose liked it, and sincerely wished Aunt Clara had been
there to get the benefit of the outbreak, for she needed just such an
awakening from the self-indulgent dream in which she lived.
"Do it, and save Charlie before it is too late!" she cried, kindling
herself as she watched him, for he looked like a roused lion as he
walked about the room with his hand clenched and a spark in his
eye, evidently in desperate earnest and ready to do almost
"Will you help?" he asked, stopping suddenly with a look that
made her stand up straight and strong as she answered with an
eager voice: "I will."
"Then don't love him yet."
That startled her, but she asked steadily, though her heart began to
beat and her color to come: "Why not?"
"Firstly, because no woman should give her happiness into the
keeping of a man without fixed principles; secondly, because the
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