Eight Cousins HTML version

6. Uncle Alec's Room
Soon after dinner, and before she had got acquainted with half her new possessions,
Dr. Alec proposed a drive, to carry round the first installment of gifts to the aunts and
cousins. Rose was quite ready to go, being anxious to try a certain soft burnous from
the box, which not only possessed a most engaging little hood, but had funny tassels
bobbing in all directions.
The big carriage was full of parcels, and even Ben's seat was loaded with Indian war
clubs, a Chinese kite of immense size, and a pair of polished ox-horns from Africa.
Uncle Alec, very blue as to his clothes, and very brown as to his face, sat bolt upright,
surveying well known places with interest, while Rose, feeling unusually elegant and
comfortable, leaned back folded in her soft mantle, and played she was an Eastern
princess making a royal progress among her subjects.
At three of the places their calls were brief, for Aunt Myra's catarrh was unusually bad;
Aunt Clara had a room full of company; and Aunt Jane showed such a tendency to
discuss the population, productions, and politics of Europe, Asia and Africa, that even
Dr. Alec was dismayed, and got away as soon as possible.
"Now we will have a good time! I do hope the boys will be at home," said Rose, with a
sigh of relief, as they wound yet higher up the hill to Aunt Jessie's.
"I left this for the last call, so that we might find the lads just in from school. Yes, there is
Jamie on the gate watching for us; now you'll see the Clan gather; they are always
swarming about together."
The instant Jamie saw the approaching guests he gave a shrill whistle, which was
answered by echoes from meadow, house and barn, as the cousins came running from
all directions, shouting, "Hooray for Uncle Alec!" They went at the carriage like
highwaymen, robbed it of every parcel, took the occupants prisoners, and marched
them into the house with great exultation.
"Little Mum! little Mum! here they are with lots of goodies! Come down and see the fun
right away! Quick!" bawled Will and Geordie amidst a general ripping off of papers and a
reckless cutting of strings that soon turned the tidy room into a chaos.
Down came Aunt Jessie with her pretty cap half on, but such a beaming face below it
that one rather thought the fly-away head-gear an improvement than otherwise. She
had hardly time to greet Rose and the doctor before the boys were about her, each
clamouring for her to see his gift and rejoice over it with him, for "little Mum" went halves
in everything. The great horns skirmished about her as if to toss her to the ceiling; the
war clubs hurtled over her head as if to annihilate her; an amazing medley from the four
quarters of the globe filled her lap, and seven excited boys all talked to her at once.