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was pleasantest now, for Dulce seldom talked, so much meditation
was possible. Even Aunt Plenty's red flannel, camphor, and Pond's
Extract were preferable to general society, and long solitary rides
on Rosa seemed the only thing to put her in tune after one of her
attempts to find out what she ought to do or leave undone.
She made up her mind at last, and arming herself with an unmade
pen, like Fanny Squeers, she boldly went into the study to confer
with Dr. Alec at an hour when Mac was usually absent.
"I want a pen for marking can you make me one, Uncle?" she
asked, popping her head in to be sure he was alone.
"Yes, my dear," answered a voice so like the doctor's that she
entered without delay.
But before she had taken three steps she stopped, looking rather
annoyed, for the head that rose from behind the tall desk was not
rough and gray, but brown and smooth, and Mac, not Uncle Alec,
sat there writing. Late experience had taught her that she had
nothing to fear from a tete-a-tete and, having with difficulty taken
a resolution, she did not like to fail of carrying it out.
"Don't get up, I won't trouble you if you are busy, there is no
hurry," she said, not quite sure whether it were wiser to stay or run
Mac settled the point by taking the pen out of her hand and
beginning to cut it, as quietly as Nicholas did on that "thrilling"
occasion. Perhaps he was thinking of that, for he smiled as he
asked, "Hard or soft?"
Rose evidently had forgotten that the family of Squeers ever
existed, for she answered: "Hard, please," in a voice to match. "I'm
glad to see you doing that," she added, taking courage from his
composure and going as straight to her point as could be expected
of a woman.
"And I am very glad to do it."
"I don't mean making pens, but the romance I advised," and she
touched the closely written page before him, looking as if she
would like to read it.
"That is my abstract on a lecture on the circulation of the blood,"
he answered, kindly turning it so that she could see. "I don't write
romances I'm living one," and he glanced up with the happy,
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