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Rose in Bloom

4. Thorns Among The Roses
For a time everything went smoothly, and Rose was a happy girl. The world
seemed a beautiful and friendly place, and fulfillment of her brightest dreams
appeared to be a possibility. Of course this could not last, and disappointment
was inevitable, because young eyes look for a Paradise and weep when they find
a workaday world which seems full of care and trouble till one learns to gladden
and glorify it with high thoughts and holy living.
Those who loved her waited anxiously for the disillusion which must come in
spite of all their cherishing, for till now Rose had been so busy with her studies,
travels, and home duties that she knew very little of the triumphs, trials, and
temptations of fashionable life. Birth and fortune placed her where she could not
well escape some of them, and Dr. Alec, knowing that experience is the best
teacher, wisely left her to learn this lesson as she must many another, devoutly
hoping that it would not be a hard one.
October and November passed rapidly, and Christmas was at hand, with all its
merry mysteries, home gatherings, and good wishes.
Rose sat in her own little sanctum, opening from the parlor, busily preparing gifts
for the dear five hundred friends who seemed to grow fonder and fonder as the
holidays drew near. The drawers of her commode stood open, giving glimpses of
dainty trifles, which she was tying up with bright ribbons.
A young girl's face at such moments is apt to be a happy one, but Rose's was
very grave as she worked, and now and then she threw a parcel into the drawer
with a careless toss, as if no love made the gift precious. So unusual was this
expression that it struck Dr. Alec as he came in and brought an anxious look to
his eyes, for any cloud on that other countenance dropped its shadow over his.
"Can you spare a minute from your pretty work to take a stitch in my old glove?"
he asked, coming up to the table strewn with ribbon, lace, and colored papers.
"Yes, Uncle, as many as you please."
The face brightened with sudden sunshine; both hands were put out to receive
the shabby driving glove, and the voice was full of that affectionate alacrity which
makes the smallest service sweet.
"My Lady Bountiful is hard at work, I see. Can I help in any way?" he asked,
glancing at the display before him.
"No, thank you, unless you can make me as full of interest and pleasure in these
things as I used to be. Don't you think preparing presents a great bore, except for
those you love and who love you?" she added in a tone which had a slight tremor
in it as she uttered the last words.
"I don't give to people whom I care nothing for. Can't do it, especially at
Christmas, when goodwill should go into everything one does. If all these
'pretties' are for dear friends, you must have a great many."
"I thought they were friends, but I find many of them are not, and that's the
trouble, sir."
"Tell me all about it, dear, and let the old glove go," he said, sitting down beside
her with his most sympathetic air.
 
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