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a minute. No, you're not a bit too heavy, my rheumatism doesn't
begin much before November, so sit here, darling, and put your
two arms round my neck."
Rose obeyed, and neither spoke for a moment as the old woman
held the young one close and appeased the two years' longing of a
motherly heart by the caresses women give the creatures dearest to
them. Right in the middle of a kiss, however, she stopped suddenly
and, holding out one arm, caught Phebe, who was trying to steal
"Don't go there's room for both in my love, though there isn't in my
lap. I'm so grateful to get my dear girls safely home again that I
hardly know what I'm about," said Aunt Plenty, embracing Phebe
so heartily that she could not feel left out in the cold and stood
there with her black eyes shining through the happiest tears.
"There, now I've had a good hug, and feel as if I was all right
again. I wish you'd set that cap in order, Rose I went to bed in such
a hurry, I pulled the strings off it and left it all in a heap. Phebe,
dear, you shall dust round a mite, just as you used to, for I haven't
had anyone to do it as I like since you've been gone, and it will do
me good to see all my knickknacks straightened out in your tidy
way," said the elder lady, getting up with a refreshed expression on
her rosy old face.
"Shall I dust in here too?" asked Phebe, glancing toward an inner
room which used to be her care.
"No, dear, I'd rather do that myself. Go in if you like, nothing is
changed. I must go and see to my pudding." And Aunt Plenty
trotted abruptly away with a quiver of emotion in her voice which
made even her last words pathetic.
Pausing on the threshold as if it was a sacred place, the girls
looked in with eyes soon dimmed by tender tears, for it seemed as
if the gentle occupant was still there. Sunshine shone on the old
geraniums by the window; the cushioned chair stood in its
accustomed place, with the white wrapper hung across it and the
faded slippers lying ready. Books and basket, knitting and
spectacles, were all just as she had left them, and the beautiful
tranquility that always filled the room seemed so natural, both
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