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"You see and know everything, so there's no need of going on, is
"Do, do! Who else? I won't even guess."
"Well, another went down upon his knees in Mrs. Van's
greenhouse and poured forth his passion manfully, with a great
cactus pricking his poor legs all the while. Kitty found him there,
and it was impossible to keep sober, so he has hated me ever
The doctor's "Ha! Ha!" was good to hear, and Rose joined him, for
it was impossible to regard these episodes seriously, since no true
sentiment redeemed them from absurdity.
"Another sent me reams of poetry and went on so Byronically that
I began to wish I had red hair and my name was Betsy Ann. I burnt
all the verses, so don't expect to see them, and he, poor fellow, is
consoling himself with Emma. But the worst of all was the one
who would make love in public and insisted on proposing in the
middle of a dance. I seldom dance round dances except with our
boys, but that night I did because the girls laughed at me for being
so 'prudish,' as they called it. I don't mind them now, for I found I
was right, and felt that I deserved my fate."
"Is that all?" asked her uncle, looking "fierce," as she predicted, at
the idea of his beloved girl obliged to listen to a declaration,
twirling on the arm of a lover.
"One more but him I shall not tell about, for I know he was in
earnest and really suffered, though I was as kind as I knew how to
be. I'm young in these things yet, so I grieved for him, and treat his
love with the tenderest respect."
Rose's voice sank almost to a whisper as she ended, and Dr. Alec
bent his head, as if involuntarily saluting a comrade in misfortune.
Then he got up, saying with a keen look into the face he lifted by a
finger under the chin: "Do you want another three months of this?"
"I'll tell you on New Year's Day, Uncle."
"Very well. Try to keep a straight course, my little captain, and if
you see dirty weather ahead, call on your first mate."
"Aye, aye, sir. I'll remember."
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