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the pretty gifts and Christmas is a failure?"
"Oh, no not for those whom nothing can make me doubt! It is
sweeter than ever to make these things, because my heart is in
every stitch and I know that, poor as they are, they will be dear to
you, Aunty Plen, Aunt Jessie, Phebe, and the boys."
She opened a drawer where lay a pile of pretty gifts, wrought with
loving care by her own hands, touching them tenderly as she spoke
and patting the sailor's knot of blue ribbon on one fat parcel with a
smile that told how unshakable her faith in someone was. "But
these," she said, pulling open another drawer and tossing over its
gay contents with an air half sad, half scornful, "these I bought and
give because they are expected. These people care only for a rich
gift, not one bit for the giver, whom they will secretly abuse if she
is not as generous as they expect. How can I enjoy that sort of
"You cannot, but perhaps you do some of them injustice, my dear.
Don't let the envy or selfishness of a few poison your faith in all.
Are you sure that none of these girls care for you?" he asked,
reading a name here and there on the parcels scattered about.
"I'm afraid I am. You see I heard several talking together the other
evening at Annabel's, only a few words, but it hurt me very much,
for nearly everyone was speculating on what I would give them
and hoping it would be something fine. 'She's so rich she ought to
be generous,' said one. 'I've been perfectly devoted to her for weeks
and hope she won't forget it,' said another. 'If she doesn't give me
some of her gloves, I shall think she's very mean, for she has
heaps, and I tried on a pair in fun so she could see they fitted and
take a hint,' added a third. I did take the hint, you see." And Rose
opened a handsome box in which lay several pairs of her best
gloves, with buttons enough to satisfy the heart of the most
"Plenty of silver paper and perfume, but not much love went into
that bundle, I fancy?" And Dr. Alec could not help smiling at the
disdainful little gesture with which Rose pushed away the box.
"Not a particle, nor in most of these. I have given them what they
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