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Chapter 9 NEW YEAR'S CALLS
"Now I'm going to turn over a new leaf, as I promised. I wonder
what I shall find on the next page?" said Rose, coming down on
New Year's morning with a serious face and a thick letter in her
"Tired of frivolity, my dear?" asked her uncle, pausing in his walk
up and down the hall to glance at her with a quick, bright look she
liked to bring into his eyes.
"No, sir, and that's the sad part of it, but I've made up my mind to
stop while I can because I'm sure it is not good for me. I've had
some very sober thoughts lately, for since my Phebe went away
I've had no heart for gaiety, so it is a good place to stop and make a
fresh start," answered Rose, taking his arm and walking on with
"An excellent time! Now, how are you going to fill the aching
void?" he asked, well pleased.
"By trying to be as unselfish, brave, and good as she is." And Rose
held the letter against her bosom with a tender touch, for Phebe's
strength had inspired her with a desire to be as self-reliant. "I'm
going to set about living in earnest, as she has; though I think it
will be harder for me than for her, because she stands alone and
has a career marked out for her. I'm nothing but a commonplace
sort of girl, with no end of relations to be consulted every time I
wink and a dreadful fortune hanging like a millstone round my
neck to weigh me down if I try to fly. It is a hard case, Uncle, and I
get low in my mind when I think about it," sighed Rose, oppressed
with her blessings.
"Afflicted child! How can I relieve you?" And there was
amusement as well as sympathy in Dr. Alec's face as he patted the
hand upon his arm.
"Please don't laugh, for I really am trying to be good. In the first
place, help me to wean myself from foolish pleasures and show me
how to occupy my thoughts and time so that I may not idle about
and dream instead of doing great things."
"Good! We'll begin at once. Come to town with me this morning
and see your houses. They are all ready, and Mrs. Gardner has half
a dozen poor souls waiting to go in as soon as you give the word,"
answered the doctor promptly, glad to get his girl back again,
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