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blunt English," she said a little pettishly, for she felt annoyed by
her failure to prove the contested point.
"Ah, my dear, if the fine phrases won't bear putting into honest
English, the thoughts they express won't bear putting into your
innocent mind! That chapter is the key to the whole book, and if
you had been led up, or rather down, to it artfully and artistically,
you might have read it to yourself without seeing how bad it is. All
the worse for the undeniable talent which hides the evil so subtly
and makes the danger so delightful."
He paused a moment, then added with an anxious glance at the
book, over which she was still bending, "Finish it if you choose
only remember, my girl, that one may read at forty what is unsafe
at twenty, and that we never can be too careful what food we give
that precious yet perilous thing called imagination."
And taking his Review, he went away to look over a learned article
which interested him much less than the workings of a young mind
Another long silence, broken only by an occasional excited bounce
from Jamie when the sociable cuttlefish looked in at the windows
or the Nautilus scuttled a ship or two in its terrific course. A bell
rang, and the doctor popped his head out to see if he was wanted.
It was only a message for Aunt Plenty, and he was about to pop in
again when his eye was caught by a square parcel on the slab.
"What's this?" he asked, taking it up.
"Rose wants me to leave it at Kitty Van's when I go. I forgot to
bring her book from Mama, so I shall go and get it as soon as ever
I've done this," replied Jamie from his nest.
As the volume in his hands was a corpulent one, and Jamie only a
third of the way through, Dr. Alec thought Rose's prospect rather
doubtful and, slipping the parcel into his pocket, he walked away,
saying with a satisfied air: "Virtue doesn't always get rewarded, but
it shall be this time if I can do it."
More than half an hour afterward, Rose woke from a little nap and
found the various old favorites with which she had tried to solace
herself replaced by the simple, wholesome story promised by Aunt
"Good boy! I'll go and thank him," she said half aloud, jumping up,
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