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Eight Cousins

1. Two Girls
Rose sat all alone in the big best parlor, with her little handkerchief laid ready to catch
the first tear, for she was thinking of her troubles, and a shower was expected. She had
retired to this room as a good place in which to be miserable; for it was dark and still, full
of ancient furniture, sombre curtains, and hung all around with portraits of solemn old
gentlemen in wigs, severe-nosed ladies in top-heavy caps, and staring children in little
bob-tailed coats or short-waisted frocks. It was an excellent place for woe; and the fitful
spring rain that pattered on the window-pane seemed to sob, "Cry away: I'm with you."
Rose really did have some cause to be sad; for she had no mother, and had lately lost
her father also, which left her no home but this with her great-aunts. She had been with
them only a week, and, though the dear old ladies had tried their best to make her
happy, they had not succeeded very well, for she was unlike any child they had ever
seen, and they felt very much as if they had the care of a low-spirited butterfly.
They had given her the freedom of the house, and for a day or two she had amused
herself roaming all over it, for it was a capital old mansion, and was full of all manner of
odd nooks, charming rooms, and mysterious passages. Windows broke out in
unexpected places, little balconies overhung the garden most romantically, and there
was a long upper hall full of curiosities from all parts of the world; for the Campbells had
been sea-captains for generations.
Aunt Plenty had even allowed Rose to rummage in her great china closet a spicy
retreat, rich in all the "goodies" that children love; but Rose seemed to care little for
these toothsome temptations; and when that hope failed, Aunt Plenty gave up in
despair.
Gentle Aunt Peace had tried all sorts of pretty needle-work, and planned a doll's
wardrobe that would have won the heart of even an older child. But Rose took little
interest in pink satin hats and tiny hose, though she sewed dutifully till her aunt caught
her wiping tears away with the train of a wedding-dress, and that discovery put an end
to the sewing society.
Then both old ladies put their heads together and picked out the model child of the
neighbourhood to come and play with their niece. But Ariadne Blish was the worst
failure of all, for Rose could not bear the sight of her, and said she was so like a wax
doll she longed to give her a pinch and see if she would squeak. So prim little Ariadne
was sent home, and the exhausted aunties left Rose to her own devices for a day or
two.
Bad weather and a cold kept her in-doors, and she spent most of her time in the library
where her father's books were stored. Here she read a great deal, cried a little, and
dreamed many of the innocent bright dreams in which imaginative children find such
 
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