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or ill to the cause she had at heart.
She was much cheered by the sound of Phebe's voice in the study,
for Rose was sure that if Uncle Alec was on their side all would be
well. But the clouds lowered again when they came in to breakfast,
for Phebe's heavy eyes and pale cheeks did not look encouraging,
while Dr. Alec was as sober as a judge and sent an inquiring
glance toward Rose now and then as if curious to discover how she
bore the news.
An uncomfortable meal, though all tried to seem as usual and
talked over last night's events with all the interest they could. But
the old peace was disturbed by a word, as a pebble thrown into a
quiet pool sends telltale circles rippling its surface far and wide.
Aunt Plenty, while "turning the subject over in her mind," also
seemed intent on upsetting everything she touched and made sad
havoc in her tea tray; Dr. Alec unsociably read his paper; Rose,
having salted instead of sugared her oatmeal, absently ate it,
feeling that the sweetness had gone out of everything; and Phebe,
after choking down a cup of tea and crumbling a roll, excused
herself and went away, sternly resolving not to be a bone of
contention to this beloved family.
As soon as the door was shut Rose pushed away her plate and,
going to Dr. Alec, she peeped over the paper with such an anxious
face that he put it down at once.
"Uncle, this is a serious matter, and we must take our stand at
once, for you are Phebe's guardian and I am her sister," began Rose
with pretty solemnity. "You have often been disappointed in me,"
she continued, "but I know I never shall be in you because you are
too wise and good to let any worldly pride or prudence spoil your
sympathy with Archie and our Phebe. You won't desert them, will
"Never!" answered Dr. Alec with gratifying energy.
"Thank you! Thank you!" cried Rose. "Now, if I have you and
Aunty on my side, I'm not afraid of anybody."
"Gently, gently, child. I don't intend to desert the lovers, but I
certainly shall advise them to consider well what they are about.
I'll own I am rather disappointed, because Archie is young to
decide his life in this way and Phebe's career seemed settled in
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