Eight Cousins HTML version

4. Aunts
All dinner-time Rose felt that she was going to be talked about, and afterward she was
sure of it, for Aunt Plenty whispered to her as they went into the parlour
"Run up and sit awhile with Sister Peace, my dear. She likes to have you read while she
rests, and we are going to be busy."
Rose obeyed, and the quiet rooms above were so like a church that she soon
composed her ruffled feelings, and was unconsciously a little minister of happiness to
the sweet old lady, who for years had sat there patiently waiting to be set free from pain.
Rose knew the sad romance of her life, and it gave a certain tender charm to this great-
aunt of hers, whom she already loved. When Peace was twenty, she was about to be
married; all was done, the wedding dress lay ready, the flowers were waiting to be put
on, the happy hour at hand, when word came that the lover was dead. They thought
that gentle Peace would die, too; but she bore it bravely, put away her bridal gear, took
up her life afresh, and lived on a beautiful, meek woman, with hair as white as snow and
cheeks that never bloomed again. She wore no black, but soft, pale colours, as if
always ready for the marriage that had never come.
For thirty years she had lived on, fading slowly, but cheerful, busy, and full of interest in
all that went on in the family; especially the joys and sorrows of the young girls growing
up about her, and to them she was adviser, confidante, and friend in all their tender
trials and delights. A truly beautiful old maiden, with her silvery hair, tranquil face, and
an atmosphere of repose about her that soothed whoever came to her!
Aunt Plenty was utterly dissimilar, being a stout, brisk old lady, with a sharp eye, a lively
tongue, and a face like a winter-apple. Always trotting, chatting, and bustling, she was a
regular Martha, cumbered with the cares of this world and quite happy in them.
Rose was right; and while she softly read psalms to Aunt Peace, the other ladies were
talking about her little self in the frankest manner.
"Well, Alec, how do you like your ward?" began Aunt Jane, as they all settled down, and
Uncle Mac deposited himself in a corner to finish his doze.
"I should like her better if I could have begun at the beginning, and so got a fair start.
Poor George led such a solitary life that the child has suffered in many ways, and since
he died she has been going on worse than ever, judging from the state I find her in."
"My dear boy, we did what we thought best while waiting for you to wind up your affairs
and get home. I always told George he was wrong to bring her up as he did; but he
never took my advice, and now here we are with this poor dear child upon our hands. I,