18. Fashion and Physiology
"Please, sir, I guess you'd better step up right away, or it will be too late, for I heard Miss
Rose say she knew you wouldn't like it, and she'd never dare to let you see her."
Phebe said this as she popped her head into the study, where Dr. Alec sat reading a
"They are at it, are they?" he said, looking up quickly, and giving himself a shake, as if
ready for a battle of some sort.
"Yes, sir, as hard as they can talk, and Miss Rose don't seem to know what to do, for
the things are ever so stylish, and she looks elegant in 'em; though I like her best in the
old ones," answered Phebe.
"You are a girl of sense. I'll settle matters for Rosy, and you'll lend a hand. Is everything
ready in her room, and are you sure you understand how they go?"
"Oh, yes, sir; but they are so funny! I know Miss Rose will think it's a joke," and Phebe
laughed as if something tickled her immensely.
"Never mind what she thinks so long as she obeys. Tell her to do it for my sake, and
she will find it the best joke she ever saw. I expect to have a tough time of it, but we'll
win yet," said the Doctor, as he marched upstairs with the book in his hand, and an odd
smile on his face.
There was such a clatter of tongues in the sewing-room that no one heard his tap at the
door, so he pushed it open and took an observation. Aunt Plenty, Aunt Clara, and Aunt
Jessie were all absorbed in gazing at Rose, who slowly revolved between them and the
great mirror, in a full winter costume of the latest fashion.
"Bless my heart! worse even than I expected," thought the Doctor, with an inward groan,
for, to his benighted eyes, the girl looked like a trussed fowl, and the fine new dress had
neither grace, beauty, nor fitness to recommend it.
The suit was of two peculiar shades of blue, so arranged that patches of light and dark
distracted the eye. The upper skirt was tied so lightly back that it was impossible to take
a long step, and the under one was so loaded with plaited frills that it "wobbled" no other
word will express it ungracefully, both fore and aft. A bunch of folds was gathered up
just below the waist behind, and a great bow rode a-top. A small jacket of the same
material was adorned with a high ruff at the back, and laid well open over the breast, to
display some lace and a locket. Heavy fringes, bows, puffs, ruffles, and revers finished
off the dress, making one's head ache to think of the amount of work wasted, for not a