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Rose in Bloom

17.
Among The Haycocks
Uncle Alec did not object and, finding that no one had any claim upon the child,
permitted Rose to keep it for a time at least. So little Dulce, newly equipped even
to a name, took her place among them and slowly began to thrive. But she did
not grow pretty and never was a gay, attractive child, for she seemed to have
been born in sorrow and brought up in misery. A pale, pensive little creature,
always creeping into corners and looking timidly out, as if asking leave to live,
and, when offered playthings, taking them with a meek surprise that was very
touching.
Rose soon won her heart, and then almost wished she had not, for baby clung to
her with inconvenient fondness, changing her former wail of "Marmar" into a
lament for "Aunty Wose" if separated long. Nevertheless, there was great
satisfaction in cherishing the little waif, for she learned more than she could teach
and felt a sense of responsibility which was excellent ballast for her enthusiastic
nature.
Kitty Van, who made Rose her model in all things, was immediately inspired to
go and do likewise, to the great amusement as well as annoyance of her family.
Selecting the prettiest, liveliest child in the Asylum, she took it home on trial for a
week. "A perfect cherub" she pronounced it the first day, but an "enfant terrible "
before the week was over, for the young hero rioted by day, howled by night,
ravaged the house from top to bottom, and kept his guardians in a series of
panics by his hairbreadth escapes. So early on Saturday, poor exhausted Kitty
restored the "cherub" with many thanks, and decided to wait until her views of
education were rather more advanced.
As the warm weather came on, Rose announced that Dulce needed mountain
air, for she dutifully repeated as many of Dr. Alec's prescriptions as possible and,
remembering how much good Cozy Corner did her long ago, resolved to try it on
her baby. Aunt Jessie and Jamie went with her, and Mother Atkinson received
them as cordially as ever. The pretty daughters were all married and gone, but a
stout damsel took their place, and nothing seemed changed except that the old
heads were grayer and the young ones a good deal taller than six years ago.
Jamie immediately fraternized with neighboring boys and devoted himself to
fishing with an ardor which deserved greater success. Aunt Jessie reveled in
reading, for which she had no time at home, and lay in her hammock a happy
woman, with no socks to darn, buttons to sew, or housekeeping cares to vex her
soul. Rose went about with Dulce like a very devoted hen with one rather feeble
chicken, for she was anxious to have this treatment work well and tended her
little patient with daily increasing satisfaction. Dr. Alec came up to pass a few
days and pronounced the child in a most promising condition. But the grand
event of the season was the unexpected arrival of Phebe.
Two of her pupils had invited her to join them in a trip to the mountains, and she
ran away from the great hotel to surprise her little mistress with a sight of her, so
well and happy that Rose had no anxiety left on her account.
 
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