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much in spite of their nearsightedness. What use he meant to make
of these new experiences no one knew, for he wrote short letters
and, when questioned, answered with imperturbable patience:
"Wait till I get through; then I'll come home and talk about it."
So everyone waited for the poet, till something happened which
produced a greater sensation in the family than if all the boys had
simultaneously taken to rhyming.
Dr. Alec got very impatient and suddenly announced that he was
going to L to see after those young people, for Phebe was rapidly
singing herself into public favor with the sweet old ballads which
she rendered so beautifully that hearers were touched as well as
ears delighted, and her prospects brightened every month.
"Will you come with me, Rose, and surprise this ambitious pair
who are getting famous so fast they'll forget their homekeeping
friends if we don't remind them of us now and then?" he said when
he proposed the trip one wild March morning.
"No, thank you, sir I'll stay with Aunty; that is all I'm fit for and I
should only be in the way among those fine people," answered
Rose, snipping away at the plants blooming in the study window.
There was a slight bitterness in her voice and a cloud on her face,
which her uncle heard and saw at once, half guessed the meaning
of, and could not rest till he had found out.
"Do you think Phebe and Mac would not care to see you?" he
asked, putting down a letter in which Mac gave a glowing account
of a concert at which Phebe surpassed herself.
"No, but they must be very busy," began Rose, wishing she had
held her tongue.
"Then what is the matter?" persisted Dr. Alec.
Rose did not speak for a moment, and decapitated two fine
geraniums with a reckless slash of her scissors, as if pent-up
vexation of some kind must find a vent. It did in words also, for, as
if quite against her will, she exclaimed impetuously: "The truth is,
I'm jealous of them both!"
"Bless my soul! What now?" ejaculated the doctor in great
Rose put down her water pot and shears, came and stood before
him with her hands nervously twisted together, and said, just as
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