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coming last to the person of whom he thought first but did not
mention, feeling shy about alluding to a subject often discussed
behind her back.
"Yes, I have, and I don't intend to go with him any more for some
time. His ways do not suit me, and mine do not suit him, so I want
to be quite independent, and you can help me if you will," said
Rose, rather nervously spinning the big globe close by.
Mac gave a low whistle, looking wide awake all in a minute as he
said with a gesture, as if he brushed a cobweb off his face: "Now,
see here, Cousin, I'm not good at mysteries and shall only blunder
if you put me blindfold into any nice maneuver. Just tell me
straight out what you want and I'll do it if I can. Play I'm Uncle and
free your mind come now."
He spoke so kindly, and the honest eyes were so full of merry
goodwill, that Rose thought she might confide in him and
answered as frankly as he could desire: "You are right, Mac, and I
don't mind talking to you almost as freely as to Uncle, because you
are such a reliable fellow and won't think me silly for trying to do
what I believe to be right. Charlie does, and so makes it hard for
me to hold to my resolutions. I want to keep early hours, dress
simply, and behave properly no matter what fashionable people do.
You will agree to that, I'm sure, and stand by me through thick and
thin for principle's sake."
"I will, and begin by showing you that I understand the case. I don't
wonder you are not pleased, for Charlie is too presuming, and you
do need someone to help you head him off a bit. Hey, Cousin?"
"What a way to put it!" And Rose laughed in spite of herself,
adding with an air of relief, "That is it, and I do want someone to
help me make him understand that I don't choose to be taken
possession of in that lordly way, as if I belonged to him more than
to the rest of the family. I don't like it, for people begin to talk, and
Charlie won't see how disagreeable it is to me."
"Tell him so," was Mac's blunt advice.
"I have, but he only laughs and promises to behave, and then he
does it again when I am so placed that I can't say anything. You
will never understand, and I cannot explain, for it is only a look, or
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