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Chapter 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
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