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she said in her old grateful way, but in her voice there was a thrill
of something deeper than gratitude, and at the last two words her
head went up with a gesture of soft pride as if it had been newly
Rose heard and saw and guessed at the meaning of both tone and
gesture, feeling that her Phebe deserved both the singer's laurel and
the bride's myrtle wreath. But she only looked up, saying very
wistfully: "Then it has been a happy night for you as well as for
"The happiest of my life, and the hardest," answered Phebe briefly
as she looked away from the questioning eyes.
"You should have let us come nearer and help you through. I'm
afraid you are very proud, my Jenny Lind."
"I have to be, for sometimes I feel as if I had nothing else to keep
me up." She stopped short there, fearing that her voice would
prove traitorous if she went on. In a moment she asked in a tone
that was almost hard: "You think I did well tonight?"
"They all think so, and were so delighted they wanted to come in a
body and tell you so, but I sent them home because I knew you'd
be tired out. Perhaps I ought not to have done it and you'd rather
have had a crowd about you than just me?"
"It was the kindest thing you ever did, and what could I like better
than 'just you,' my darling?"
Phebe seldom called her that, and when she did her heart was in
the little word, making it so tender that Rose thought it the
sweetest in the world, next to Uncle Alec's "my little girl." Now it
was almost passionate, and Phebe's face grew rather tragical as she
looked down at Rose. It was impossible to seem unconscious any
longer, and Rose said, caressing Phebe's cheek, which burned with
a feverish color now: "Then don't shut me out if you have a
trouble, but let me share it as I let you share all mine."
"I will! Little mistress, I've got to go away, sooner even than we
"Because Archie loves me."
"That's the very reason you should stay and make him happy."
"Not if it caused dissension in the family, and you know it would."
Rose opened her lips to deny this impetuously, but checked herself
and answered honestly: "Uncle and I would be heartily glad, and
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