Rose in Bloom
3. Miss Campbell
While the travelers unpack their trunks, we will pick up, as briefly as possible, the
dropped stitches in the little romance we are weaving.
Rose's life had been a very busy and quiet one for the four years following the
May day when she made her choice. Study, exercise, housework, and many
wholesome pleasures kept her a happy, hearty creature, yearly growing in
womanly graces, yet always preserving the innocent freshness girls lose so soon
when too early set upon the world's stage and given a part to play.
Not a remarkably gifted girl in any way, and far from perfect; full of all manner of
youthful whims and fancies; a little spoiled by much love; rather apt to think all
lives as safe and sweet as her own; and, when want or pain appealed to her, the
tender heart overflowed with a remorseful charity which gave of its abundance
recklessly. Yet, with all her human imperfections, the upright nature of the child
kept her desires climbing toward the just and pure and true, as flowers struggle
to the light; and the woman's soul was budding beautifully under the green leaves
behind the little thorns.
At seventeen, Dr. Alec pronounced her ready for the voyage around the world,
which he considered a better finishing off than any school could give her. But just
then Aunt Peace began to fail and soon slipped quietly away to rejoin the lover
she had waited for so long. Youth seemed to come back in a mysterious way to
touch the dead face with lost loveliness, and all the romance of her past to gather
around her memory. Unlike most aged women, her friends were among the
young, and at her funeral the grayheads gave place to the band of loving girls
who made the sweet old maiden ready for her rest, bore her pall, and covered
her grave with the white flowers she had never worn.
When this was over poor Aunt Plenty seemed so lost without her lifelong charge
that Dr. Alec would not leave her, and Rose gladly paid the debt she owed by the
tender service which comforts without words. But Aunt Plenty, having lived for
others all her days, soon rebelled against this willing sacrifice, soon found
strength in her own sincere piety, solace in cheerful occupation, and amusement
in nursing Aunt Myra, who was a capital patient, as she never died and never got
So at last the moment came when, with free minds, the travelers could set out,
and on Rose's eighteenth birthday, with Uncle Alec and the faithful Phebe, she
sailed away to see and study the big, beautiful world which lies ready for us all if
we only know how to use and enjoy it.
Phebe was set to studying music in the best schools, and while she trained her
lovely voice with happy industry, Rose and her uncle roamed about in the most
delightful way till two years were gone like a dream and those at home clamored
for their return.
Back they came, and now the heiress must make ready to take her place, for at
twenty-one she came into possession of the fortune she had been trying to learn
how to use well. Great plans fermented in her brain, for, though the heart was as