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men whom she met. Good fellows enough, but educated, as nearly
all are nowadays, to believe that girls with beauty or money are
brought to market to sell or buy as the case may be.
Rose could purchase anything she liked, as she combined both
advantages, and was soon surrounded by many admirers, each
striving to secure the prize. Not being trained to believe that the
only end and aim of a woman's life was a good match, she was a
little disturbed, when the first pleasing excitement was over, to
discover that her fortune was her chief attraction.
It was impossible for her to help seeing, hearing, guessing this
from a significant glance, a stray word, a slight hint here and there,
and the quick instinct of a woman felt even before it understood
the self-interest which chilled for her so many opening friendships.
In her eyes love was a very sacred thing, hardly to be thought of till
it came, reverently received and cherished faithfully to the end.
Therefore, it is not strange that she shrank from hearing it
flippantly discussed and marriage treated as a bargain to be
haggled over, with little thought of its high duties, great
responsibilities, and tender joys. Many things perplexed her, and
sometimes a doubt of all that till now she had believed and trusted
made her feel as if at sea without a compass, for the new world
was so unlike the one she had been living in that it bewildered
while it charmed the novice.
Dr. Alec understood the mood in which he found her and did his
best to warn without saddening by too much worldly wisdom.
"You are something besides an heiress to those who know and love
you, so take heart, my girl, and hold fast to the faith that is in you.
There is a touchstone for all these things, and whatever does not
ring true, doubt and avoid. Test and try men and women as they
come along, and I am sure conscience, instinct, and experience
will keep you from any dire mistake," he said, with a protecting
arm about her and a trustful look that was very comforting.
After a moment's pause she answered, while a sudden smile
dimpled around her mouth and the big glove went up to hide her
telltale cheeks: "Uncle, if I must have lovers, I do wish they'd be
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