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Chapter 8 BREAKERS AHEAD
Anxious to smooth the way for Phebe, Rose was up betimes and
slipped into Aunt Plenty's room before the old lady had gotten her
"Aunty, I've something pleasant to tell you, and while you listen,
I'll brush your hair, as you like to have me," she began, well aware
that the proposed process was a very soothing one.
"Yes, dear only don't be too particular, because I'm late and must
hurry down or Jane won't get things straight, and it does fidget me
to have the saltcellars uneven, the tea strainer forgotten, and your
uncle's paper not aired," returned Miss Plenty, briskly unrolling the
two gray curls she wore at her temples.
Then Rose, brushing away at the scanty back hair, led skillfully up
to the crisis of her tale by describing Phebe's panic and brave
efforts to conquer it; all about the flowers Archie sent her; and
how Steve forgot, and dear, thoughtful Archie took his place. So
far it went well and Aunt Plenty was full of interest, sympathy, and
approbation, but when Rose added, as if it was quite a matter of
course, "So, on the way home, he told her he loved her," a great
start twitched the gray locks out of her hands as the old lady turned
around, with the little curls standing erect, exclaiming, in
undisguised dismay: "Not seriously, Rose?"
"Yes, Aunty, very seriously. He never jokes about such things."
"Mercy on us! What shall we do about it?"
"Nothing, ma'am, but be as glad as we ought and congratulate him
as soon as she says 'yes.'?
"Do you mean to say she didn't accept at once?"
"She never will if we don't welcome her as kindly as if she
belonged to one of our best families, and I don't blame her."
"I'm glad the girl has so much sense. Of course we can't do
anything of the sort, and I'm surprised at Archie's forgetting what
he owes to the family in this rash manner. Give me my cap, child I
must speak to Alec at once." And Aunt Plenty twisted her hair into
a button at the back of her head with one energetic twirl.
"Do speak kindly, Aunty, and remember that it was not Phebe's
fault. She never thought of this till very lately and began at once to
prepare for going away," said Rose pleadingly.
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