Eight Cousins HTML version

19. Brother Bones
Rose accepted her uncle's offer, as Aunt Myra discovered two or three days later.
Coming in for an early call, and hearing voices in the study, she opened the door, gave
a cry and shut it quickly, looking a good deal startled. The Doctor appeared in a
moment, and begged to know what the matter was.
"How can you ask when that long box looks so like a coffin I thought it was one, and that
dreadful thing stared me in the face as I opened the door," answered Mrs. Myra,
pointing to the skeleton that hung from the chandelier cheerfully grinning at all
"This is a medical college where women are freely admitted, so walk in, madam, and
join the class if you'll do me the honour," said the Doctor, waving her forward with his
politest bow.
"Do, auntie, it's perfectly splendid," cried Rose's voice, and Rose's blooming face was
seen behind the ribs of the skeleton, smiling and nodding in the gayest possible
"What are you doing, child?" demanded Aunt Myra, dropping into a chair and staring
about her.
"Oh, I'm learning bones to-day, and I like it so much. There are twelve ribs, you know,
and the two lower ones are called floating ribs, because they are not fastened to the
breastbone. That's why they go in so easily if you lace tight and squeeze the lungs and
heart in the let me see, what was that big word oh, I know thoracic cavity," and Rose
beamed with pride as she aired her little bit of knowledge.
"Do you think that is a good sort of thing for her to be poking over? She is a nervous
child, and I'm afraid it will be bad for her," said Aunt Myra, watching Rose as she
counted vertebrae, and waggled a hip-joint in its socket with an inquiring expression.
"An excellent study, for she enjoys it, and I mean to teach her how to manage her
nerves so that they won't be a curse to her, as many a woman's become through
ignorance or want of thought. To make a mystery or terror of these things is a mistake,
and I mean Rose shall understand and respect her body so well that she won't dare to
trifle with it as most women do."
"And she really likes it?"
"Very much, auntie! It's all so wonderful, and so nicely planned, you can hardly believe
what you see. Just think, there are 600,000,000 air cells in one pair of lungs, and 2,000
pores to a square inch of surface; so you see what quantities of air we must have, and