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Rose in Bloom

10.
The Sad And Sober Part
"How will he look? What will he say? Can anything make us forget and be happy
again?" were the first questions Rose asked herself as soon as she woke from
the brief sleep which followed a long, sad vigil. It seemed as if the whole world
must be changed because a trouble darkened it for her. She was too young yet
to know how possible it is to forgive much greater sins than this, forget far
heavier disappointments, outlive higher hopes, and bury loves compared to
which hers was but a girlish fancy. She wished it had not been so bright a day,
wondered how her birds could sing with such shrill gaiety, put no ribbon in her
hair, and said, as she looked at the reflection of her own tired face in the glass,
"Poor thing! You thought the new leaf would have something pleasant on it. The
story has been very sweet and easy to read so far, but the sad and sober part is
coming now."
A tap at the door reminded her that, in spite of her afflictions, breakfast must be
eaten, and the sudden thought that Charlie might still be in the house made her
hurry to the door, to find Dr. Alec waiting for her with his morning smile. She drew
him in and whispered anxiously, as if someone lay dangerously ill nearby, "Is he
better, Uncle? Tell me all about it I can bear it now."
Some men would have smiled at her innocent distress and told her this was only
what was to be expected and endured, but Dr. Alec believed in the pure instincts
that make youth beautiful, desired to keep them true, and hoped his girl would
never learn to look unmoved by pain and pity upon any human being vanquished
by a vice, no matter how trivial it seemed, how venial it was held. So his face
grew grave, though his voice was cheerful as he answered: "All right, I daresay,
by this time, for sleep is the best medicine in such cases. I took him home last
night, and no one knows he came but you and I."
"No one ever shall. How did you do it, Uncle?"
"Just slipped out of the long study window and got him cannily off, for the air and
motion, after a dash of cold water, brought him around, and he was glad to be
safely landed at home. His rooms are below, you know, so no one was disturbed,
and I left him sleeping nicely."
"Thank you so much," sighed Rose. "And Brutus? Weren't they frightened when
he got back alone?"
"Not at all. The sagacious beast went quietly to the stable, and the sleepy groom
asked no questions, for Charlie often sends the horse round by himself when it is
late or stormy. Rest easy, dear no eye but ours saw the poor lad come and go,
and we'll forgive it for love's sake."
"Yes, but not forget it. I never can, and he will never be again to me the Charlie
I've been so proud and fond of all these years. Oh, Uncle, such a pity! Such a
pity!"
"Don't break your tender heart about it, child, for it is not incurable, thank God! I
don't make light of it, but I am sure that under better influences Charlie will
redeem himself because his impulses are good and this his only vice. I can
hardly blame him for what he is, because his mother did the harm. I declare to
 
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