9. Phebe's Secret
"Why do you keep smiling to yourself, Phebe?" asked Rose, as they were working
together one morning, for Dr. Alec considered house-work the best sort of gymnastics
for girls; so Rose took lessons of Phebe in sweeping, dusting and bed-making.
"I was thinking about a nice little secret I know, and couldn't help smiling."
"Shall I know it, sometime?"
"Guess you will."
"Shall I like it?"
"Oh, won't you, though!"
"Will it happen soon?"
"Sometime this week."
"I know what it is! The boys are going to have fireworks on the fourth, and have got
some surprise for me. Haven't they?"
"Well, I can wait; only tell me one thing is uncle in it?"
"Of course he is; there's never any fun without him."
"Then it's all right, and sure to be nice."
Rose went out on the balcony to shake the rugs, and, having given them a vigorous
beating, hung them on the balustrade to air, while she took a look at her plants. Several
tall vases and jars stood there, and a month of June sun and rain had worked wonders
with the seeds and slips she had planted. Morning-glories and nasturtiums ran all over
the bars, making haste to bloom. Scarlet beans and honeysuckles were climbing up
from below to meet their pretty neighbours, and the woodbine was hanging its green
festoons wherever it could cling.
The waters of the bay were dancing in the sunshine, a fresh wind stirred the chestnut-
trees with a pleasant sound, and the garden below was full of roses, butterflies and
bees. A great chirping and twittering went on among the birds, busy with their summer
house-keeping, and, far away, the white-winged gulls were dipping and diving in the
sea, where ships, like larger birds, went sailing to and fro.