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that affectionate alacrity which makes the smallest service sweet.
"My Lady Bountiful is hard at work, I see. Can I help in any way?"
he asked, glancing at the display before him.
"No, thank you, unless you can make me as full of interest and
pleasure in these things as I used to be. Don't you think preparing
presents a great bore, except for those you love and who love
you?" she added in a tone which had a slight tremor in it as she
uttered the last words.
"I don't give to people whom I care nothing for. Can't do it,
especially at Christmas, when goodwill should go into everything
one does. If all these 'pretties' are for dear friends, you must have a
"I thought they were friends, but I find many of them are not, and
that's the trouble, sir."
"Tell me all about it, dear, and let the old glove go," he said, sitting
down beside her with his most sympathetic air.
But she held the glove fast, saying eagerly, "No, no, I love to do
this! I don't feel as if I could look at you while I tell what a bad,
suspicious girl I am," she added, keeping her eyes on her work.
"Very well, I'm ready for confessions of any iniquity and glad to
get them, for sometimes lately I've seen a cloud in my girl's eyes
and caught a worried tone in her voice. Is there a bitter drop in the
cup that promised to be so sweet, Rose?"
"Yes, Uncle. I've tried to think there was not, but it is there, and I
don't like it. I'm ashamed to tell, and yet I want to, because you
will show me how to make it sweet or assure me that I shall be the
better for it, as you used to do when I took medicine."
She paused a minute, sewing swiftly; then out came the trouble all
in one burst of girlish grief and chagrin.
"Uncle, half the people who are so kind to me don't care a bit for
me, but for what I can give them, and that makes me unhappy,
because I was so glad and proud to be liked. I do wish I hadn't a
penny in the world, then I should know who my true friends were."
"Poor little lass! She has found out that all that glitters is not gold,
and the disillusion has begun," said the doctor to himself, adding
aloud, smiling yet pitiful, "And so all the pleasure is gone out of
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