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Rose in Bloom

18.
Which Was It?
Rose did read and digest, and found her days much richer for the good company
she kept, for an introduction to so much that was wise, beautiful, and true could
not but make that month a memorable one. It is not strange that while the young
man most admired "Heroism" and "Self-Reliance," the girl preferred "Love" and
"Friendship," reading them over and over like prose poems, as they are, to the
fitting accompaniment of sunshine, solitude, and sympathy, for letters went to
and fro with praiseworthy regularity.
Rose much enjoyed this correspondence, and found herself regretting that it was
at an end when she went home in September, for Mac wrote better than he
talked, though he could do that remarkably well when he chose. But she had no
chance to express either pleasure or regret, for the first time she saw him after
her return the great change in his appearance made her forget everything else.
Some whim had seized him to be shaven and shorn, and when he presented
himself to welcome Rose, she hardly knew him. The shaggy hair was nicely
trimmed and brushed, the cherished brown beard entirely gone, showing a well-
cut mouth and handsome chin and giving a new expression to the whole face.
"Are you trying to look like Keats?" she asked, after a critical glance, which left
her undecided whether the change was an improvement or not.
"I am trying not to look like Uncle," answered Mac coolly.
"And why, if you please?" demanded Rose in great surprise.
"Because I prefer to look like myself, and not resemble any other man, no matter
how good or great he may be."
"You haven't succeeded then, for you look now very much like the young
Augustus," returned Rose, rather pleased on the whole to see what a finely
shaped head appeared after the rough thatch was off.
"Trust a woman to find a comparison for everything under the sun!" laughed Mac,
not at all flattered by the one just made. "What do you think of me, on the
whole?" he asked a minute later, as he found Rose still scrutinizing him with a
meditative air.
"Haven't made up my mind. It is such an entire change, I don't know you, and
feel as if I ought to be introduced. You certainly look much more tidy, and I fancy
I shall like it when I'm used to seeing a somewhat distinguished-looking man
about the house instead of my old friend Orson," answered Rose, with her head
on one side to get a profile view.
"Don't tell Uncle why I did it, please he thinks it was for the sake of coolness and
likes it, so take no notice. They are all used to me now, and don't mind," said
Mac, roving about the room as if rather ashamed of his whim after all.
"No, I won't, but you mustn't mind if I'm not as sociable as usual for a while. I
never can be with strangers, and you really do seem like one. That will be a
punishment for your want of taste and love of originality," returned Rose,
resolved to punish him for the slight put upon her beloved uncle.
 
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