Part 2 out of 5
"You'd better mind what you do, for I'm going to 'dopt Pokey like
Rose did Phebe, and then you'll have to be very good to her, you
"'Dopt away, baby, and I'll give you a cage to keep her in, or you
won't have her long, for she is getting worse than a monkey"; and
Archie went back to his mates, while Aunt Jessie, foreseeing a
crisis, proposed that Jamie should take his dolly home, as she was
borrowed, and it was time her visit ended.
"My dolly is better than yours, isn't she? 'cause she can walk and
talk and sing and dance, and yours can't do anything, can she?"
asked Jamie with pride, as he regarded his Pokey, who just then
had been moved to execute a funny little jig and warble the
"'Puss-tat, puss-tat, where you been?'
'I been Lunnin, to saw a Tween."'
After which superb display she retired, escorted by Jamie, both
making a fearful din blowing on conch shells.
"We must tear ourselves away, Rose, because I want to get you
home before sunset. Will you come for a drive, Jessie?" said Dr.
Alec, as the music died away in the distance.
"No, thank you; but I see the boys want a scamper, so, if you don't
mind, they may escort you home, but not go in. That is only
allowed on holidays."
The words were hardly out of Aunt Jessie's mouth when Archie
said, in a tone of command
"Pass the word, lads. Boot and saddle, and be quick about it."
"All right!" And in a moment not a vestige of boy remained but the
litter on the floor.
The cavalcade went down the hill at a pace that made Rose cling
to her uncle's arm, for the fat old horses got excited by the antics
of the ponies careering all about them, and went as fast as they
could pelt, with the gay dog-cart rattling in front, for Archie and
Charlie scorned shelties since this magnificent equipage had been
set up. Ben enjoyed the fun, and the lads cut up capers till Rose
declared that "circus" was the proper name for them after all.
When they reached the house they dismounted, and stood, three on
each side the steps, in martial attitudes, while her ladyship was
handed out with great elegance by Uncle Alec. Then the Clan
saluted, mounted at word of command, and with a wild whoop tore
down the avenue in what they considered the true Arab style.
"That was splendid, now it is safely ended," said Rose, skipping up
the steps with her head over her shoulder to watch the dear tassels
"I shall get you a pony as soon as you are a little stronger," said Dr.
Alec, watching her with a smile.
"Oh, I couldn't ride one of those horrid, frisky little beasts! They
roll their eyes and bounce about so, I should die of fright," cried
Rose, clasping her hands tragically.
"Are you a coward?"
"About horses I am."
"Never mind, then; come and see my new room"; and he led the
way upstairs without another word.
As Rose followed she remembered her promise to Aunt Jessie, and
was sorry she had objected so decidedly. She was a great deal
more sorry five minutes later, and well she might be.
"Now, take a good look, and tell me what you think of it," said Dr.
Alec, opening the door and letting her enter before him, while
Phebe was seen whisking down the backstairs with a dust-pan.
Rose walked to the middle of the room, stood still, and gazed
about her with eyes that brightened as they looked, for all was
This chamber had been built out over the library to suit some
fancy, and had been unused for years, except at Christmas times,
when the old house overflowed. It had three windows one to the
east, that overlooked the bay; one to the south, where the
horse-chestnuts waved their green fans; and one to the west,
towards the hill and the evening sky. A ruddy sunset burned there
now, filling the room with an enchanted glow; the soft murmur of
the sea was heard, and a robin chirped "Good-night!" among the
Rose saw and heard these things first, and felt their beauty with a
child's quick instinct; then her eye took in the altered aspect of the
room, once so shrouded, still and solitary, now so full of light and
warmth and simple luxury.
India matting covered the floor, with a gay rug here and there; the
antique andirons shone on the wide hearth, where a cheery blaze
dispelled the dampness of the long-closed room. Bamboo lounges
and chairs stood about, and quaint little tables in cosy corners; one
bearing a pretty basket, one a desk, and on a third lay several
familiar-looking books. In a recess stood a narrow white bed, with
a lovely Madonna hanging over it. The Japanese screen half-folded
back showed a delicate toilet service of blue and white set forth on
a marble slab, and near by was the great bath-pan, with Turkish
towels and a sponge as big as Rose's head.
"Uncle must love cold water like a duck," she thought, with a
Then her eye went on to the tall cabinet, where a half-open door
revealed a tempting array of the drawers, shelves and "cubby
holes," which so delight the hearts of children.
"What a grand place for my new things," she thought, wondering
what her uncle kept in that cedar retreat.
"Oh me, what a sweet toilet table!" was her next mental
exclamation, as she approached this inviting spot.
A round old-fashioned mirror hung over it, with a gilt eagle a-top,
holding in his beak the knot of blue ribbon that tied up a curtain of
muslin falling on either side of the table, where appeared little
ivory-handled brushes, two slender silver candle-sticks, a porcelain
match-box, several pretty trays for small matters, and, most
imposing of all, a plump blue silk cushion, coquettishly trimmed
with lace, and pink rose-buds at the corners.
That cushion rather astonished Rose; in fact, the whole table did,
and she was just thinking, with a sly smile
"Uncle is a dandy, but I never should have guessed it," when he
opened the door of a large closet, saying, with a careless wave of
"Men like plenty of room for their rattle-traps; don't you think that
ought to satisfy me?"
Rose peeped in and gave a start, though all she saw was what one
usually finds in closets clothes and boots, boxes and bags. Ah! but
you see these clothes were small black and white frocks; the row
of little boots that stood below had never been on Dr. Alec's feet;
the green bandbox had a gray veil straying out of it, and yes! the
bag hanging on the door was certainly her own piece-bag, with a
hole in one corner. She gave a quick look round the room and
understood now why it had seemed too dainty for a man, why her
Testament and Prayer Book were on the table by the bed, and what
those rose-buds meant on the blue cushion. It came upon her in
one delicious burst that this little paradise was all for her, and, not
knowing how else to express her gratitude, she caught Dr. Alec
round the neck, saying impetuously
"O uncle, you are too good to me! I'll do anything you ask me; ride
wild horses and take freezing baths and eat bad-tasting messes, and
let my clothes hang on me, to show how much I thank you for this
dear, sweet, lovely room!"
"You like it, then? But why do you think it is yours, my lass?"
asked Dr. Alec, as he sat down looking well pleased, and drew his
excited little niece to his knee.
"I don't think, I know it is for me; I see it in your face, and I feel as
if I didn't half deserve it. Aunt Jessie said you would spoil me, and
I must not let you. I'm afraid this looks like it, and perhaps oh me!
perhaps I ought not to have this beautiful room after all!" and Rose
tried to look as if she could be heroic enough to give it up if it was
"I owe Mrs. Jessie one for that," said Dr. Alec, trying to frown,
though in his secret soul he felt that she was quite right. Then he
smiled that cordial smile, which was like sunshine on his brown
face, as he said
"This is part of the cure, Rose, and I put you here that you might
take my three great remedies in the best and easiest way. Plenty of
sun, fresh air, and cold water; also cheerful surroundings, and
some work; for Phebe is to show you how to take care of this
room, and be your little maid as well as friend and teacher. Does
that sound hard and disagreeable to you, dear?"
"No, sir; very, very pleasant, and I'll do my best to be a good
patient. But I really don't think anyone could be sick in this
delightful room," she said, with a long sigh of happiness as her eye
went from one pleasant object to another.
"Then you like my sort of medicine better than Aunt Myra's, and
don't want to throw it out of the window, hey?"
Chapter 7 - A Trip to China
"Come, little girl, I've got another dose for you. I fancy you won't
take it as well as you did the last, but you will like it better after a
while," said Dr. Alec, about a week after the grand surprise.
Rose was sitting in her pretty room, where she would gladly have
spent all her time if it had been allowed; but she looked up with a
smile, for she had ceased to fear her uncle's remedies, and was
always ready to try a new one. The last had been a set of light
gardening tools, with which she had helped him put the
flower-beds in order, learning all sorts of new and pleasant things
about the plants as she worked, for, though she had studied botany
at school, it seemed very dry stuff compared with Uncle Alec's
"What is it now?" she asked, shutting her work-box without a
"How must I take it?"
"Put on the new suit Miss Hemming sent home yesterday, and
come down to the beach; then I'll show you."
"Yes, sir," answered Rose obediently, adding to herself, with a
shiver, as he went off: "It is too early for bathing, so I know it is
something to do with a dreadful boat."
Putting on the new suit of blue flannel, prettily trimmed with
white, and the little sailor-hat with long streamers, diverted her
mind from the approaching trial, till a shrill whistle reminded her
that her uncle was waiting. Away she ran through the garden,
down the sandy path, out upon the strip of beach that belonged to
the house, and here she found Dr. Alec busy with a slender red and
white boat that lay rocking on the rising tide.
"That is a dear little boat; and 'Bonnie Belle' is a pretty name," she
said, trying not to show how nervous she felt.
"It is for you; so sit in the stern and learn to steer, till you are ready
to learn to row."
"Do all boats wiggle about in that way?" she asked, lingering as if
to tie her hat more firmly.
"Oh, yes, pitch about like nutshells when the sea is a bit rough,"
answered her sailor uncle, never guessing her secret woe.
"Is it rough to-day?"
"Not very; it looks a trifle squally to the eastward, but we are all
right till the wind changes. Come."
"Can you swim, uncle?" asked Rose, clutching at his arm as he
took her hand.
"Like a fish. Now then."
"Oh, please hold me very tight till I get there! Why do you have the
stern so far away?" and, stifling several squeaks of alarm in her
passage, Rose crept to the distant seat, and sat there holding on
with both hands and looking as if she expected every wave to bring
a sudden shipwreck.
Uncle Alec took no notice of her fear, but patiently instructed her
in the art of steering, till she was so absorbed in remembering
which was starboard and which larboard, that she forgot to say
"OW!" every time a big wave slapped against the boat.
"Now where shall we go?" she asked, as the wind blew freshly in
her face, and a few, long swift strokes sent them half across the
"Suppose we go to China?"
"Isn't that rather a long voyage?"
"Not as I go. Steer round the Point into the harbour, and I'll give
you a glimpse of China in twenty minutes or so."
"I should like that!" and Rose sat wondering what he meant, while
she enjoyed the new sights all about her.
Behind them the green Aunt-hill sloped gently upward to the grove
at the top, and all along the seaward side stood familiar houses,
stately, cosy, or picturesque. As they rounded the Point, the great
bay opened before them full of shipping, and the city lay beyond,
its spires rising above the tall masts with their gay streamers.
"Are we going there?" she asked, for she had never seen this aspect
of the rich and busy old city before.
"Yes. Uncle Mac has a ship just in from Hong Kong, and I thought
you would like to go and see it."
"Oh, I should. I love dearly to go poking about in the warehouses
with Uncle Mac; everything is so curious and new to me; and I'm
specially interested in China because you have been there."
"I'll show you two genuine Chinamen who have just arrived. You
will like to welcome Whang Lo and Fun See, I'm sure."
"Don't ask me to speak to them, uncle; I shall be sure to laugh at
the odd names and the pig-tails and the slanting eyes. Please let me
just trot round after you; I like that best."
"Very well; now steer toward the wharf where the big ship with the
queer flag is. That's the 'Rajah,' and we will go aboard if we can."
In among the ships they went, by the wharves where the water was
green and still, and queer barnacles grew on the slippery piles. Odd
smells saluted her nose, and odd sights met her eyes, but Rose
liked it all, and played she was really landing in Hong Kong when
they glided up to the steps in the shadow of the tall "Rajah." Boxes
and bales were rising out of the hold and being carried into the
warehouse by stout porters, who tugged and bawled and clattered
about with small trucks, or worked cranes with iron claws that
came down and clutched heavy weights, whisking them aloft to
where wide doors like mouths swallowed them up.
Dr. Alec took her aboard the ship, and she had the satisfaction of
poking her inquisitive little nose into every available corner, at the
risk of being crushed, lost, or drowned.
"Well, child, how would you like to take a voyage round the world
with me in a jolly old craft like this?" asked her uncle, as they
rested a minute in the captain's cabin.
"I should like to see the world, but not in such a small, untidy,
smelly place as this. We would go in a yacht all clean and
comfortable; Charlie says that is the proper way," answered Rose,
surveying the close quarters with little favour.
"You are not a true Campbell if you don't like the smell of tar and
salt-water, nor Charlie either, with his luxurious yacht. Now come
ashore and chin-chin with the Celestials."
After a delightful progress through the great warehouse, peeping
and picking as they went, they found Uncle Mac and the yellow
gentlemen in his private room, where samples, gifts, curiosities,
and newly arrived treasures of all sorts were piled up in pleasing
pro-fusion and con-fusion.
As soon as possible Rose retired to a corner, with a porcelain god
on one side, a green dragon on the other, and, what was still more
embarrassing, Fun See sat on a tea-chest in front, and stared at her
with his beady black eyes till she did not know where to look.
Mr. Whang Lo was an elderly gentleman in American costume,
with his pig-tail neatly wound round his head. He spoke English,
and was talking busily with Uncle Mac in the most commonplace
way so Rose considered him a failure. But Fun See was
delightfully Chinese from his junk-like shoes to the button on his
pagoda hat; for he had got himself up in style, and was a mass of
silk jackets and slouchy trousers. He was short and fat, and
waddled comically; his eyes were very "slanting," as Rose said; his
queue was long, so were his nails; his yellow face was plump and
shiny, and he was altogether a highly satisfactory Chinaman.
Uncle Alec told her that Fun See had come out to be educated and
could only speak a little pigeon English; so she must be kind to the
poor fellow, for he was only a lad, though he looked nearly as old
as Mr. Whang Lo. Rose said she would be kind; but had not the
least idea how to entertain the queer guest, who looked as if he had
walked out of one of the rice-paper landscapes on the wall, and sat
nodding at her so like a toy Mandarin that she could hardly keep
In the midst of her polite perplexity, Uncle Mac saw the two young
people gazing wistfully at one another, and seemed to enjoy the
joke of this making acquaintance under difficulties. Taking a box
from his table, he gave it to Fun See, with an order that seemed to
please him very much.
Descending from his perch, he fell to unpacking it with great
neatness and despatch, while Rose watched him, wondering what
was going to happen. Presently, out from the wrappings came a
teapot, which caused her to clasp her hands with delight, for it was
made in the likeness of a plump little Chinaman. His hat was the
cover, his queue the handle, and his pipe the nose. It stood upon
feet in shoes turned up at the toes, and the smile on the fat, sleepy
face was so like that on Fun's when he displayed the teapot, that
Rose couldn't help laughing, which pleased him much.
Two pretty cups with covers, and a fine scarlet tray completed the
set, and made one long to have a "dish of tea," even in Chinese
style, without cream or sugar.
When he had arranged them on a little table before her, Fun
signified in pantomime that they were hers, from her uncle. She
returned her thanks in the same way, whereupon he returned to his
tea-chest, and, having no other means of communication, they sat
smiling and nodding at one another in an absurd sort of way till a
new idea seemed to strike Fun. Tumbling off his seat, he waddled
away as fast as his petticoats permitted, leaving Rose hoping that
he had not gone to get a roasted rat, a stewed puppy, or any other
foreign mess which civility would oblige her to eat.
While she waited for her funny new friend, she improved her mind
in a way that would have charmed Aunt Jane. The gentlemen were
talking over all sorts of things, and she listened attentively, storing
up much of what she heard, for she had an excellent memory, and
longed to distinguish herself by being able to produce some useful
information when reproached with her ignorance.
She was just trying to impress upon her mind that Amoy was two
hundred and eighty miles from Hong Kong, when Fun came
scuffling back, bearing what she thought was a small sword, till he
unfurled an immense fan, and presented it with a string of Chinese
compliments, the meaning of which would have amused her even
more than the sound, if she could have understood it.
She had never seen such an astonishing fan, and at once became
absorbed in examining it. Of course, there was no perspective
whatever, which only gave it a peculiar charm to Rose, for in one
place a lovely lady, with blue knitting-needles in her hair, sat
directly upon the spire of a stately pagoda. In another charming
view a brook appeared to flow in at the front door of a stout
gentleman's house, and out at his chimney. In a third a zig-zag wall
went up into the sky like a flash of lightning, and a bird with two
tails was apparently brooding over a fisherman whose boat was
just going aground upon the moon.
It was altogether a fascinating thing, and she would have sat
wafting it to and fro all the afternoon, to Fun's great satisfaction, if
Dr. Alec's attention had not suddenly been called to her by a
breeze from the big fan that blew his hair into his eyes, and
reminded him that they must go. So the pretty china was repacked,
Rose furled her fan, and with several parcels of choice teas for the
old ladies stowed away in Dr. Alec's pockets, they took their leave,
after Fun had saluted them with "the three bendings and the nine
knockings," as they salute the Emperor, or "Son of Heaven," at
"I feel as if I had really been to China, and I'm sure I look so," said
Rose, as they glided out of the shadow of the "Rajah."
She certainly did, for Mr. Whang Lo had given her a Chinese
umbrella; Uncle Alec had got some lanterns to light up her
balcony; the great fan lay in her lap, and the tea-set reposed at her
"This is not a bad way to study geography, is it?" asked her uncle,
who had observed her attention to the talk.
"It is a very pleasant way, and I really think I have learned more
about China to-day than in all the lessons I had at school, though I
used to rattle off the answers as fast as I could go. No one
explained anything to us, so all I remember is that tea and silk
come from there, and the women have little bits of feet. I saw Fun
looking at mine, and he must have thought them perfectly
immense," answered Rose, surveying her stout boots with sudden
"We will have out the maps and the globe, and I'll show you some
of my journeys, telling stories as we go. That will be next best to
doing it actually."
"You are so fond of travelling, I should think it would be very dull
for you here, uncle. Do you know, Aunt Plenty says she is sure you
will be off in a year or two."
"Oh, me! what shall I do then?" sighed Rose, in a tone of despair
that made Uncle Alec's face brighten with a look of genuine
pleasure as he said significantly
"Next time I go I shall take my little anchor with me. How will that
Rose gave a little bounce of rapture which caused the boat to
"wiggle" in a way that speedily quieted her down. But she sat
beaming joyfully and trying to think which of some hundred
questions she would ask first, when Dr. Alec said, pointing to a
boat that was coming up behind them in great style
"How well those fellows row! Look at them, and take notes for
your own use by and by."
The "Stormy Petrel" was manned by half a dozen jaunty looking
sailors, who made a fine display of blue shirts and shiny hats, with
stars and anchors in every direction.
"How beautifully they go, and they are only boys. Why, I do
believe they are our boys! Yes, I see Charlie laughing over his
shoulder. Row, uncle, row! Oh, please do, and not let them catch
up with us!" cried Rose, in such a state of excitement that the new
umbrella nearly went overboard.
"All right, here we go!" and away they did go with a long steady
sweep of the oars that carried the "Bonnie Belle" through the water
with a rush.
The lads pulled their prettiest, but Dr. Alec would have reached
the Point first, if Rose, in her flurry, had not retarded him by
jerking the rudder ropes in a most unseamanlike way, and just as
she got right again her hat blew off. That put an end to the race,
and while they were still fishing for the hat the other boat came
alongside, with all the oars in the air, and the jolly young tars ready
for a frolic.
"Did you catch a crab, uncle?"
"No, a blue-fish," he answered, as the dripping hat was landed on a
seat to dry.
"What have you been doing?"
"Good for you, Rose! I know what you mean. We are going to have
him up to show us how to fly the big kite, for we can't get the hang
of it. Isn't he great fun, though?"
"No, little Fun."
"Come, stop joking, and show us what you've got."
"You'd better hoist that fan for a sail."
"Lend Dandy your umbrella; he hates to burn his pretty nose."
"I say, uncle, are you going to have a Feast of Lanterns?"
"No, I'm going to have a feast of bread and butter, for it's tea-time.
If that black cloud doesn't lie, we shall have a gust before long, so
you had better get home as soon as you can, or your mother will be
"Ay, ay, skipper. Good-night, Rose; come out often, and we'll
teach you all there is to know about rowing," was Charlie's modest
Then the boats parted company, and across the water from the
"Petrel's" crew came a verse from one of the Nonsense songs in
which the boys delighted.
"Oh, Timballoo! how happy we are,
We live in a sieve and a crockery jar!
And all night long, in the starlight pale,
We sail away, with a pea-green sail,
And whistle and warble a moony song
To the echoing sound of a coppery gong.
Far and few, far and few
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a sieve."
Chapter 8 - And what came of it
"Uncle, could you lend me a ninepence? I'll return it as soon as I
get my pocket-money," said Rose, coming into the library in a
great hurry that evening.
"I think I could, and I won't charge any interest for it, so you need
not be in any hurry to repay me. Come back here and help me
settle these books if you have nothing pleasanter to do," answered
Dr. Alec, handing out the money with that readiness which is so
delightful when we ask small loans.
"I'll come in a minute; I've been longing to fix my books, but didn't
dare to touch them, because you always shake your head when I
"I shall shake my head when you write, if you don't do it better
than you did in making out this catalogue."
"I know it's bad, but I was in a hurry when I did it, and I am in one
now." And away went Rose, glad to escape a lecture.
But she got it when she came back, for Uncle Alec was still
knitting his brows over the list of books, and sternly demanded,
pointing to a tipsy-looking title staggering down the page
"Is that meant for 'Pulverized Bones,' ma'am?"
"No, sir; it's 'Paradise Lost.' "
"Well, I'm glad to know it, for I began to think you were planning
to study surgery or farming. And what is this, if you please?
'Babies' Aprons' is all I can make of it."
Rose looked hard at the scrawl, and presently announced, with an
air of superior wisdom
"Oh, that's 'Bacon's Essays.' "
"Miss Power did not teach anything so old-fashioned as writing, I
see. Now look at this memorandum Aunt Plenty gave me, and see
what a handsome plain hand that is. She went to a dame-school
and learnt a few useful things well; that is better than a smattering
of half a dozen so-called higher branches, I take the liberty of
"Well, I'm sure I was considered a bright girl at school, and learned
everything I was taught. Luly and me were the first in all our
classes, and 'specially praised for our French and music and those
sort of things," said Rose, rather offended at Uncle Alec's
"I dare say; but if your French grammar was no better than your
English, I think the praise was not deserved, my dear."
"Why, uncle, we did study English grammar, and I could parse
beautifully. Miss Power used to have us up to show off when
people came. I don't see but I talk as right as most girls."
"I dare say you do, but we are all too careless about our English.
Now, think a minute, and tell me if these expressions are correct
'Luly and me,' 'those sort of things,' and 'as right as most girls.' "
Rose pulled her pet curl and put up her lip, but had to own that she
was wrong, and said meekly, after a pause which threatened to be
"I suppose I should have said 'Luly and I,' in that case, and 'that sort
of things' and 'rightly,' though 'correctly' would have been a better
word, I guess."
"Thank you; and if you will kindly drop 'I guess,' I shall like my
little Yankee all the better. Now, see here, Rosy, I don't pretend to
set myself up for a model in anything, and you may come down on
my grammar, manners or morals as often as you think I'm wrong,
and I'll thank you. I've been knocking about the world for years,
and have got careless, but I want my girl to be what I call
well-educated, even if she studies nothing but the three 'Rs' for a
year to come. Let us be thorough, no matter how slowly we go."
He spoke so earnestly and looked so sorry to have ruffled her that
Rose went and sat on the arm of his chair, saying, with a pretty air
"I'm sorry I was cross, uncle, when I ought to thank you for taking
so much interest in me. I guess no, I think you are right about
being thorough, for I used to understand a great deal better when
papa taught me a few lessons than when Miss Power hurried me
through so many. I declare my head used to be such a jumble of
French and German, history and arithmetic, grammar and music, I
used to feel sometimes as if it would split. I'm sure I don't wonder
it ached." And she held on to it as if the mere memory of the
"jumble" made it swim.
"Yet that is considered an excellent school, I find, and I dare say it
would be if the benighted lady did not think it necessary to cram
her pupils like Thanks-giving turkeys, instead of feeding them in a
natural and wholesome way. It is the fault with most American
schools, and the poor little heads will go on aching till we learn
This was one of Dr. Alec's hobbies, and Rose was afraid he was off
for a gallop, but he reined himself in and gave her thoughts a new
turn by saying suddenly, as he pulled out a fat pocket-book
"Uncle Mac has put all your affairs into my hands now, and here is
your month's pocket money. You keep your own little accounts, I
"Thank you. Yes, Uncle Mac gave me an account book when I
went to school, and I used to put down my expenses, but I couldn't
make them go very well, for figures are the one thing I am not at
all clever about," said Rose, rummaging in her desk for a
dilapidated little book, which she was ashamed to show when she
"Well, as figures are rather important things to most of us, and you
may have a good many accounts to keep some day, wouldn't it be
wise to begin at once and learn to manage your pennies before the
pounds come to perplex you?"
"I thought you would do all that fussy part and take care of the
pounds, as you call them. Need I worry about it? I do hate sums,
"I shall take care of things till you are of age, but I mean that you
shall know how your property is managed, and do as much of it as
you can by and by; then you won't be dependent on the honesty of
"Gracious me! as if I wouldn't trust you with millions of billions if
I had them," cried Rose, scandalised at the mere suggestion.
"Ah, but I might be tempted; guardians are sometimes; so you'd
better keep your eye on me, and in order to do that you must learn
all about these affairs," answered Dr. Alec, as he made an entry in
his own very neat account-book.
Rose peeped over his shoulder at it, and then turned to the
arithmetical puzzle in her hand with a sigh of despair.
"Uncle, when you add up your expenses do you ever find you have
got more money than you had in the beginning?"
"No; I usually find that I have a good deal less than I had in the
beginning. Are you troubled in the peculiar way you mention?"
"Yes; it is very curious, but I never can make things come out
"Perhaps I can help you," began Uncle Alec, in the most respectful
"I think you had better, for if I have got to keep accounts I may as
well begin in the right way. But please don't laugh! I know I'm very
stupid, and my book is a disgrace, but I never could get it straight."
And with great trepidation, Rose gave up her funny little accounts.
It really was good in Dr. Alec not to laugh, and Rose felt deeply
grateful when he said in a mildly suggestive tone
"The dollars and cents seem to be rather mixed, perhaps if I just
straightened them out a bit we should find things all right."
"Please do, and then show me on a fresh leaf how to make mine
look nice and ship-shape as yours do."
As Rose stood by him watching the ease with which he quickly
brought order out of chaos, she privately resolved to hunt up her
old arithmetic and perfect herself in the four first rules, with a
good tug at fractions, before she read any more fairy tales.
"Am I a rich girl, uncle?" she asked suddenly, as he was copying a
column of figures.
"Rather a poor one, I should say, since you had to borrow a
"That was your fault, because you forgot my pocket-money. But,
really, shall I be rich by and by?"
"I am afraid you will."
"Why afraid, uncle?"
"Too much money is a bad thing."
"But I can give it away, you know; that is always the pleasantest
part of having it I think."
"I'm glad you feel so, for you can do much good with your fortune
if you know how to use it well."
"You shall teach me, and when I am a woman we will set up a
school where nothing but the three R's shall be taught, and all the
children live on oatmeal, and the girls have waists a yard round,"
said Rose, with a sudden saucy smile dimpling her cheeks.
"You are an impertinent little baggage, to turn on me in that way
right in the midst of my first attempt at teaching. Never mind, I'll
have an extra bitter dose for you next time, miss."
"I knew you wanted to laugh, so I gave you a chance. Now, I will
be good, master, and do my lesson nicely."
So Dr. Alec had his laugh, and then Rose sat down and took a
lesson in accounts which she never forgot.
"Now come and read aloud to me; my eyes are tired, and it is
pleasant to sit here by the fire while the rain pours outside and
Aunt Jane lectures upstairs," said Uncle Alec, when last month's
accounts had been put in good order and a fresh page neatly begun.
Rose liked to read aloud, and gladly gave him the chapter in
"Nicholas Nickleby" where the Miss Kenwigses take their French
lesson. She did her very best, feeling that she was being criticised,
and hoping that she might not be found wanting in this as in other
"Shall I go on, sir?" she asked very meekly, when the chapter
"If you are not tired, dear. It is a pleasure to hear you, for you read
remarkably well," was the answer that filled her heart with pride
"Do you really think so, uncle? I'm so glad! Papa taught me, and I
read for hours to him, but I thought perhaps, he liked it because he
was fond of me."
"So am I; but you really do read unusually well, and I'm very glad
of it, for it is a rare accomplishment, and one I value highly. Come
here in this cosy, low chair; the light is better, and I can pull these
curls if you go too fast. I see you are going to be a great comfort as
well as a great credit to your old uncle, Rosy." And Dr. Alec drew
her close beside him with such a fatherly look and tone that she
felt it would be very easy to love and obey him, since he knew how
to mix praise and blame so pleasantly together.
Another chapter was just finished, when the sound of a carriage
warned them that Aunt Jane was about to depart. Before they
could go to meet her, however, she appeared in the doorway
looking like an unusually tall mummy in her waterproof, with her
glasses shining like cat's eyes from the depths of the hood.
"Just as I thought! petting that child to death and letting her sit up
late reading trash. I do hope you feel the weight of the
responsibility you have taken upon yourself, Alec," she said, with a
certain grim sort of satisfaction at seeing things go wrong.
"I think I have a very realising sense of it, sister Jane," answered
Dr. Alec, with a comical shrug of the shoulders and a glance at
Rose's bright face.
"It is sad to see a great girl wasting these precious hours so. Now,
my boys have studied all day, and Mac is still at his books, I've no
doubt, while you have not had a lesson since you came, I suspect."
"I've had five to-day, ma'am," was Rose's very unexpected answer.
"I'm glad to hear it; and what were they, pray?" Rose looked very
demure as she replied
"Navigation, geography, grammar, arithmetic, and keeping my
"Queer lessons, I fancy; and what have you learned from this
remarkable mixture, I should like to know?"
A naughty sparkle came into Rose's eyes as she answered, with a
droll look at her uncle
"I can't tell you all, ma'am, but I have collected some useful
information about China, which you may like, especially the teas.
The best are Lapsing Souchong, Assam Pekoe, rare Ankoe,
Flowery Pekoe, Howqua's mixture, Scented Caper, Padral tea,
black Congou, and green Twankey. Shanghai is on the Woosung
River. Hong Kong means 'Island of Sweet waters.' Singapore is
'Lion's Town.' 'Chops' are the boats they live in; and they drink tea
out of little saucers. Principal productions are porcelain, tea,
cinnamon, shawls, tin, tamarinds and opium. They have beautiful
temples and queer gods; and in Canton is the Dwelling of the Holy
Pigs, fourteen of them, very big, and all blind."
The effect of this remarkable burst was immense, especially the
fact last mentioned. It entirely took the wind out of Aunt Jane's
sails; it was so sudden, so varied and unexpected, that she had not
a word to say. The glasses remained fixed full upon Rose for a
moment, and then, with a hasty "Oh, indeed!" the excellent lady
bundled into her carriage and drove away, somewhat bewildered
and very much disturbed.
She would have been more so if she had seen her reprehensible
brother-in-law dancing a triumphal polka down the hall with Rose
in honour of having silenced the enemy's battery for once.
Chapter 9 - Phebe's Secret
"Why do you keep smiling to yourself, Phebe?" asked Rose, as
they were working together one morning, for Dr. Alec considered
house-work the best sort of gymnastics for girls; so Rose took
lessons of Phebe in sweeping, dusting and bed-making.
"I was thinking about a nice little secret I know, and couldn't help
"Shall I know it, sometime?"
"Guess you will."
"Shall I like it?"
"Oh, won't you, though!"
"Will it happen soon?"
"Sometime this week."
"I know what it is! The boys are going to have fireworks on the
fourth, and have got some surprise for me. Haven't they?"
"Well, I can wait; only tell me one thing is uncle in it?"
"Of course he is; there's never any fun without him."
"Then it's all right, and sure to be nice."
Rose went out on the balcony to shake the rugs, and, having given
them a vigorous beating, hung them on the balustrade to air, while
she took a look at her plants. Several tall vases and jars stood
there, and a month of June sun and rain had worked wonders with
the seeds and slips she had planted. Morning-glories and
nasturtiums ran all over the bars, making haste to bloom. Scarlet
beans and honeysuckles were climbing up from below to meet
their pretty neighbours, and the woodbine was hanging its green
festoons wherever it could cling.
The waters of the bay were dancing in the sunshine, a fresh wind
stirred the chestnut-trees with a pleasant sound, and the garden
below was full of roses, butterflies and bees. A great chirping and
twittering went on among the birds, busy with their summer
house-keeping, and, far away, the white-winged gulls were dipping
and diving in the sea, where ships, like larger birds, went sailing to
"Oh, Phebe, it's such a lovely day, I do wish your fine secret was
going to happen right away! I feel just like having a good time;
don't you?" said Rose, waving her arms as if she was going to fly.
"I often feel that way, but I have to wait for my good times, and
don't stop working to wish for 'em. There, now you can finish as
soon as the dust settles; I must go do my stairs," and Phebe trudged
away with the broom, singing as she went.
Rose leaned where she was, and fell to thinking how many good
times she had had lately, for the gardening had prospered finely,
and she was learning to swim and row, and there were drives and
walks, and quiet hours of reading and talk with Uncle Alec, and,
best of all, the old pain and ennui seldom troubled her now. She
could work and play all day, sleep sweetly all night, and enjoy life
with the zest of a healthy, happy child. She was far from being as
strong and hearty as Phebe, but she was getting on; the once pale
cheeks had colour in them now, the hands were growing plump
and brown, and the belt was not much too loose. No one talked to
her about her health, and she forgot that she had "no constitution."
She took no medicine but Dr. Alec's three great remedies, and they
seemed to suit her excellently. Aunt Plenty said it was the pills;
but, as no second batch had ever followed the first, I think the old
lady was mistaken.
Rose looked worthy of her name as she stood smiling to herself
over a happier secret than any Phebe had a secret which she did
not know herself till she found out, some years later, the magic of
"'Look only,' said the brownie,
'At the pretty gown of blue,
At the kerchief pinned about her head,
And at her little shoe,"'
said a voice from below, as a great cabbage-rose came flying
against her cheek.
"What is the princess dreaming about up there in her
hanging-garden?" added Dr. Alec as she flung back a
"I was wishing I could do something pleasant this fine day;
something very new and interesting, for the wind makes me feel
frisky and gay."
"Suppose we take a pull over to the Island? I intended to go this
afternoon; but if you feel more like it now, we can be off at once."
"I do! I do! I'll come in fifteen minutes, uncle. I must just scrabble
my room to rights, for Phebe has got a great deal to do."
Rose caught up the rugs and vanished as she spoke, while Dr. Alec
went in, saying to himself, with an indulgent smile
"It may upset things a trifle, but half a child's pleasure consists in
having their fun when they want it."
Never did duster flap more briskly than the one Rose used that
day, and never was a room "scrabbled" to rights in such haste as
hers. Tables and chairs flew into their places as if alive; curtains
shook as if a gale was blowing; china rattled and small articles
tumbled about as if a young earthquake was playing with them.
The boating suit went on in a twinkling, and Rose was off with a
hop and a skip, little dreaming how many hours it would be before
she saw her pretty room again.
Uncle Alec was putting a large basket into the boat when she
arrived, and before they were off Phebe came running down with a
queer, knobby bundle done up in a water-proof.
"We can't eat half that luncheon, and I know we shall not need so
many wraps. I wouldn't lumber the boat up so," said Rose, who
still had secret scares when on the water.
"Couldn't you make a smaller parcel, Phebe?" asked Dr. Alec,
eyeing the bundle suspiciously.
"No, sir, not in such a hurry," and Phebe laughed as she gave a
particularly large knob a good poke.
"Well, it will do for ballast. Don't forget the note to Mrs. Jessie, I
beg of you."
"No, sir. I'll send it right off," and Phebe ran up the bank as if she
had wings to her feet.
"We'll take a look at the lighthouse first, for you have not been
there yet, and it is worth seeing. By the time we have done that it
will be pretty warm, and we will have lunch under the trees on the
Rose was ready for anything, and enjoyed her visit to the
lighthouse on the Point very much, especially climbing up the
narrow stairs and going inside the great lantern. They made a long
stay, for Dr. Alec seemed in no hurry to go, and kept looking
through his spy-glass as if he expected to discover something
remarkable on sea or land. It was past twelve before they reached
the Island, and Rose was ready for her lunch long before she got it.
"Now this is lovely! I do wish the boys were here. Won't it be nice
to have them with us all their vacation? Why, it begins to-day,
doesn't it? Oh, I wish I'd remembered it sooner, and perhaps they
would have come with us," she said, as they lay luxuriously eating
sandwiches under the old apple-tree.
"So we might. Next time we won't be in such a hurry. I expect the
lads will take our heads off when they find us out," answered Dr.
Alec, placidly drinking cold tea.
"Uncle, I smell a frying sort of a smell," Rose said, pausing
suddenly as she was putting away the remains of the lunch half an
"So do I; it is fish, I think."
For a moment they both sat with their noses in the air, sniffing like
hounds; then Dr. Alec sprang up, saying with great decision
"Now, this won't do! No one is permitted on this island without
asking leave. I must see who dares to fry fish on my private
Taking the basket on one arm and the bundle on the other, he
strode away towards the traitorous smell, looking as fierce as a
lion, while Rose marched behind under her umbrella.
"We are Robinson Crusoe and his man Friday going to see if the
savages have come," she said presently, for her fancy was full of
the dear old stories that all children love so well.
"And there they are! Two tents and two boats, as I live! These
rascals mean to enjoy themselves, that's evident."
"There ought to be more boats and no tents. I wonder where the
"There are traces of them," and Dr. Alec pointed to the heads and
tails of fishes strewn on the grass.
"And there are more," said Rose, laughing, as she pointed to a
scarlet heap of what looked like lobsters.
"The savages are probably eating their victims now; don't you hear
the knives rattle in that tent?"
"We ought to creep up and peep; Crusoe was cautious, you know,
and Friday scared out of his wits," added Rose, still keeping up the
"But this Crusoe is going to pounce upon them, regardless of
consequences. If I am killed and eaten, you seize the basket and
run for the boat; there are provisions enough for your voyage
With that Uncle Alec slipped round to the front of the tent and,
casting in the big bundle like a bomb-shell, roared out, in a voice
A crash, a shout, a laugh, and out came the savages, brandishing
knives and forks, chicken bones, and tin mugs, and all fell upon
the intruder, pommelling him unmercifully as they cried
"You came too soon! We are not half ready! You've spoilt it all!
Where is Rose?"
"Here I am," answered a half-stifled voice, and Rose was
discovered sitting on the pile of red flannel bathing clothes, which
she had mistaken for lobsters, and where she had fallen in a fit of
merriment when she discovered that the cannibals were her merry
"You good-for-nothing boys! You are always bursting out upon me
in some ridiculous way, and I always get taken in because I'm not
used to such pranks. Uncle is as bad as the rest, and it's great fun,"
she said, as the lads came round her, half scolding, half
welcoming, and wholly enjoying the double surprise.
"You were not to come till afternoon, and mamma was to be here
to receive you. Everything is in a mess now, except your tent; we
got that in order the first thing, and you can sit there and see us
work," said Archie, doing the honours as usual.
"Rose felt it in her bones, as Dolly says, that something was in the
wind, and wanted to be off at once. So I let her come, and should
have kept her away an hour longer if your fish had not betrayed
you," explained Uncle Alec, subsiding from a ferocious Crusoe
into his good-natured self again.
"As this seat is rather damp, I think I'll rise," said Rose, as the
excitement lessened a little.
Several fishy hands helped her up, and Charlie said, as he scattered
the scarlet garments over the grass with an oar
"We had a jolly good swim before dinner, and I told the Brats to
spread these to dry. Hope you brought your things, Rose, for you
belong to the Lobsters, you know, and we can have no end of fun
teaching you to dive and float and tread water."
"I didn't bring anything " began Rose, but was interrupted by the
Brats (otherwise Will and Geordie), who appeared bearing the big
bundle, so much demoralised by its fall that a red flannel tunic
trailed out at one end and a little blue dressing-gown at the other,
while the knobs proved to be a toilet-case, rubbers, and a silver
"Oh, that sly Phebe! This was the secret, and she bundled up those
things after I went down to the boat," cried Rose, with sparkling
"Guess something is smashed inside, for a bit of glass fell out,"
observed Will, as they deposited the bundle at her feet.
"Catch a girl going anywhere without a looking-glass. We haven't
got one among the whole lot of us," added Mac, with masculine
"Dandy has; I caught him touching up his wig behind the trees
after our swim," cut in Geordie, wagging a derisive finger at Steve,
who promptly silenced him by a smart rap on the head with the
drum-stick he had just polished off.
"Come, come, you lazy lubbers, fall to work, or we shall not be
ready for mamma. Take Rose's things to her tent, and tell her all
about it, Prince. Mac and Steve, you cut away and bring up the rest
of the straw; and you small chaps, clear off the table, if you have
stuffed all you can. Please, uncle, I'd like your advice about the
boundary lines and the best place for the kitchen."
Everyone obeyed the chief, and Rose was escorted to her tent by
Charlie, who devoted himself to her service. She was charmed
with her quarters, and still more so with the programme which he
unfolded before her as they worked.
"We always camp out somewhere in vacation, and this year we
thought we'd try the Island. It is handy, and our fireworks will
show off well from here."
"Shall we stay over the Fourth? Three whole days! Oh, me! what a
frolic it will be!"
"Bless your heart, we often camp for a week, we big fellows; but
this year the small chaps wanted to come, so we let them. We have
great larks, as you'll see; for we have a cave and play Captain
Kidd, and have shipwrecks, and races, and all sorts of games. Arch
and I are rather past that kind of thing now, but we do it to please
the children," added Charlie, with a sudden recollection of his
"I had no idea boys had such good times. Their plays never seemed
a bit interesting before. But I suppose that was because I never
knew any boys very well, or perhaps you are unusually nice ones,"
observed Rose, with an artless air of appreciation that was very
"We are a pretty clever set, I fancy; but we have a good many
advantages, you see. There are a tribe of us, to begin with; then our
family has been here for ages, and we have plenty of 'spondulics,'
so we can rather lord it over the other fellows, and do as we like.
There, ma'am, you can hang your smashed glass on that nail and
do up your back hair as fine as you please. You can have a blue
blanket or a red one, and a straw pillow or an air cushion for your
head, whichever you like. You can trim up to any extent, and be as
free and easy as squaws in a wigwam, for this corner is set apart
for you ladies and we never cross the line uncle is drawing until
we ask leave. Anything more I can do for you, cousin?"
"No, thank you. I think I'll leave the rest till auntie comes, and go
and help you somewhere else, if I may."
"Yes, indeed, come on and see to the kitchen. Can you cook?"
asked Charlie, as he led the way to the rocky nook where Archie
was putting up a sail-cloth awning.
"I can make tea and toast bread."
"Well, we'll shew you how to fry fish, and make chowder. Now
you just set these pots and pans round tastefully, and sort of tidy up
a bit, for Aunt Jessie insists on doing some of the work, and I want
it to be decent here."
By four o'clock the camp was in order, and the weary workers
settled down on Lookout Rock to watch for Mrs. Jessie and Jamie,
who was never far from mamma's apron string. They looked like a
flock of blue-birds, all being in sailor rig, with blue ribbon enough
flying from the seven hats to have set up a milliner. Very tuneful
blue-birds they were, too, for all the lads sang, and the echo of
their happy voices reached Mrs. Jessie long before she saw them.
The moment the boat hove in sight up went the Island flag, and the
blue-jackets cheered lustily, as they did on every possible
occasion, like true young Americans. This welcome was answered
by the flapping of a handkerchief and the shrill "Rah! Rah! Rah!"
of the one small tar who stood in the stern waving his hat
manfully, while a maternal hand clutched him firmly in the rear.
Cleopatra landing from her golden galley never received a heartier
greeting than "Little Mum" as she was borne to her tent by the
young folk, for love of whom she smilingly resigned herself to
three days of discomfort; while Jamie immediately attached
himself to Rose, assuring her of his protection from the manifold
perils which might assail them.
Taught by long experience that boys are always hungry, Aunt
Jessie soon proposed supper, and proceeded to get it, enveloped in
an immense apron, with an old hat of Archie's stuck atop of her
cap. Rose helped, and tried to be as handy as Phebe, though the
peculiar style of table she had to set made it no easy task. It was
accomplished at last, and a very happy party lay about under the
trees, eating and drinking out of anyone's plate and cup, and quite
untroubled by the frequent appearance of ants and spiders in places
which these interesting insects are not expected to adorn.
"I never thought I should like to wash dishes, but I do," said Rose,
as she sat in a boat after supper lazily rinsing plates in the sea, and
rocking luxuriously as she wiped them.
"Mum is mighty particular; we just give 'em a scrub with sand, and
dust 'em off with a bit of paper. It's much the best way, I think,"
replied Geordie, who reposed in another boat alongside.
"How Phebe would like this! I wonder uncle did not have her
"I believe he tried to, but Dolly was as cross as two sticks, and said
she couldn't spare her. I'm sorry, for we all like the Phebe bird, and
she'd chirp like a good one out here, wouldn't she?"
"She ought to have a holiday like the rest of us. It's too bad to leave
This thought came back to Rose several times that evening, for
Phebe would have added much to the little concert they had in the
moonlight, would have enjoyed the stories told, been quick at
guessing the conundrums, and laughed with all her heart at the fun.
The merry going to bed would have been the best of all, for Rose
wanted someone to cuddle under the blue blanket with her, there
to whisper and giggle and tell secrets, as girls delight to do.
Long after the rest were asleep, Rose lay wide awake, excited by
the novelty of all about her, and a thought that had come into her
mind. Far away she heard a city clock strike twelve; a large star
like a mild eye peeped in at the opening of the tent, and the soft
plash of the waves seemed calling her to come out. Aunt Jessie lay
fast asleep, with Jamie rolled up like a kitten at her feet, and
neither stirred as Rose in her wrapper crept out to see how the
world looked at midnight.
She found it very lovely, and sat down on a cracker keg to enjoy it
with a heart full of the innocent sentiment of her years.
Fortunately, Dr. Alec saw her before she had time to catch cold,
for coming out to tie back the door-flap of his tent for more air, he
beheld the small figure perched in the moonlight. Having no fear
of ghosts, he quietly approached, and, seeing that she was wide
awake, said, with a hand on her shining hair
"What is my girl doing here?"
"Having a good time," answered Rose, not at all startled.
"I wonder what she was thinking about with such a sober look."
"The story you told of the brave sailor who gave up his place on
the raft to the woman, and the last drop of water to the poor baby.
People who make sacrifices are very much loved and admired,
aren't they?" she asked, earnestly.
"If the sacrifice is a true one. But many of the bravest never are
known, and get no praise. That does not lessen their beauty, though
perhaps it makes them harder, for we all like sympathy," and Dr.
Alec sighed a patient sort of sigh.
"I suppose you have made a great many? Would you mind telling
me one of them?" asked Rose, arrested by the sigh.
"My last was to give up smoking," was the very unromantic answer
to her pensive question.
"Why did you?"
"Bad example for the boys."
"That was very good of you, uncle! Was it hard?"
"I'm ashamed to say it was. But as a wise old fellow once said, 'It is
necessary to do right; it is not necessary to be happy.' "
Rose pondered over the saying as if it pleased her, and then said,
with a clear, bright look
"A real sacrifice is giving up something you want or enjoy very
much, isn't it?"
"Doing it one's own self because one loves another person very
much and wants her to be happy?"
"And doing it pleasantly, and being glad about it, and not minding
the praise if it doesn't come?"
"Yes, dear, that is the true spirit of self-sacrifice; you seem to
understand it, and I dare say you will have many chances in your
life to try the real thing. I hope they won't be very hard ones."
"I think they will," began Rose, and there stopped short.
"Well, make one now, and go to sleep, or my girl will be ill
to-morrow, and then the aunts will say camping out was bad for
"I'll go good night!" and throwing him a kiss, the little ghost
vanished, leaving Uncle Alec to pace the shore and think about
some of the unsuspected sacrifices that had made him what he
Chapter 10 - Rose's Sacrifice
There certainly were "larks" on Campbell's Island next day, as
Charlie had foretold, and Rose took her part in them like one
intent on enjoying every minute to the utmost. There was a merry
breakfast, a successful fishing expedition, and then the lobsters
came out in full force, for even Aunt Jessie appeared in red
flannel. There was nothing Uncle Alec could not do in the water,
and the boys tried their best to equal him in strength and skill, so
there was a great diving and ducking, for every one was bent on
Rose swam out far beyond her depth, with uncle to float her back;
Aunt Jessie splashed placidly in the shallow pools, with Jamie
paddling near by like a little whale beside its mother; while the
lads careered about, looking like a flock of distracted flamingoes,
and acting like the famous dancing party in "Alice's Adventures in
Nothing but chowder would have lured them from their gambols in
the briny deep; that time-honoured dish demanded the
concentrated action of several mighty minds; so the "Water
Babies" came ashore and fell to cooking.
It is unnecessary to say that, when done, it was the most
remarkable chowder ever cooked, and the quantity eaten would
have amazed the world if the secret had been divulged. After this
exertion a siesta was considered the thing, and people lay about in
tents or out as they pleased, the boys looking like warriors
slumbering where they fell.
The elders had just settled to a comfortable nap when the
youngsters rose, refreshed and ready for further exploits. A hint
sent them all off to the cave, and there were discovered bows and
arrows, battle clubs, old swords, and various relics of an
interesting nature. Perched upon a commanding rock, with Jamie
to "splain" things to her, Rose beheld a series of stirring scenes
enacted with great vigour and historical accuracy by her gifted
Captain Cook was murdered by the natives of Owhyhee in the
most thrilling manner. Captain Kidd buried untold wealth in the
chowder kettle at the dead of night, and shot both the trusting
villains who shared the secret of the hiding place. Sinbad came
ashore there and had manifold adventures, and numberless wrecks
bestrewed the sands.
Rose considered them by far the most exciting dramas she had
ever witnessed; and when the performance closed with a grand
ballet of Feejee Islanders, whose barbaric yells alarmed the gulls,
she had no words in which to express her gratification.
Another swim at sunset, another merry evening on the rocks
watching the lighted steamers pass seaward and the pleasure-boats
come into port, ended the second day of the camping out, and sent
everyone to bed early that they might be ready for the festivities of
"Archie, didn't I hear uncle ask you to row home in the morning
for fresh milk and things?"
"Please, may I go too? I have something of great importance to
arrange; you know I was carried off in a hurry," Rose said in a
confidential whisper as she was bidding her cousins good night.
"I'm willing, and I guess Charlie won't mind."
"Thank you; be sure you stand by me when I ask leave in the
morning, and don't say anything till then, except to Charlie.
Promise," urged Rose, so eagerly, that Archie struck an attitude
and cried dramatically
"By yonder moon I swear!"
"Hush! it's all right, go along"; and Rose departed as if satisfied.
"She's a queer little thing, isn't she, Prince?"
"Rather a nice little thing, I think. I'm quite fond of her."
Rose's quick ears caught both remarks, and she retired to her tent,
saying to herself with sleepy dignity
"Little thing, indeed! Those boys talk as if I was a baby. They will
treat me with more respect after to-morrow, I guess."
Archie did stand by her in the morning, and her request was readily
granted, as the lads were coming directly back. Off they went, and
Rose waved her hand to the islanders with a somewhat pensive air,
for an heroic purpose glowed within her, and the spirit of
self-sacrifice was about to be illustrated in a new and touching
While the boys got the milk Rose ran to Phebe, ordered her to
leave her dishes, to put on her hat, and take a note back to Uncle
Alec, which would explain this somewhat mysterious
performance. Phebe obeyed, and when she went to the boat Rose
accompanied her, telling the boys she was not ready to go yet, but
they could, some of them, come for her when she hung a white
signal on her balcony.
"But why not come now? What are you about, miss? Uncle won't
like it," protested Charlie, in great amazement.
"Just do as I tell you, little boy; uncle will understand and explain.
Obey, as Phebe does, and ask no questions. I can have secrets as
well as other people"; and Rose walked off with an air of lofty
independence that impressed her friends immensely.
"It's some plot between uncle and herself, so we won't meddle. All
right, Phebe? Pull away, Prince"; and off they went to be received
with much surprise by the islanders.
This was the note Phebe bore:
"Dear Uncle, I am going to take Phebe's place to-day, and let her
have all the fun she can. Please don't mind what she says, but keep
her, and tell the boys to be very good to her for my sake. Don't
think it is easy to do this; it is very hard to give up the best day of
all, but I feel so selfish to have all the pleasure and Phebe none,
that I wish to make this sacrifice. Do let me, and don't laugh at it; I
truly do not wish to be praised, and I truly want to do it. Love to all
"Bless the little dear, what a generous heart she has! Shall we go
after her, Jessie, or let her have her way?" said Dr. Alec, after the
first mingled amusement and astonishment had subsided.
"Let her alone, and don't spoil her little sacrifice. She means it, I
know, and the best way in which we can show our respect for her
effort is to give Phebe a pleasant day. I'm sure she has earned it";
and Mrs. Jessie made a sign to the boys to suppress their
disappointment and exert themselves to please Rose's guest.
Phebe was with difficulty kept from going straight home, and
declared that she should not enjoy herself one bit without Miss
"She won't hold out all day, and we shall see her paddling back
before noon, I'll wager anything," said Charlie; and the rest so
strongly inclined to his opinion that they resigned themselves to
the loss of the little queen of the revels, sure that it would be only
a temporary one.
But hour after hour passed, and no signal appeared on the balcony,
though Phebe watched it hopefully. No passing boat brought the
truant back, though more than one pair of eyes looked out for the
bright hair under the round hat; and sunset came, bringing no Rose
but the lovely colour in the western sky.
"I really did not think the child had it in her. I fancied it was a bit
of sentiment, but I see she was in earnest, and means that her
sacrifice shall be a true one. Dear little soul! I'll make it up to her a
thousand times over, and beg her pardon for thinking it might be
done for effect," Dr. Alec said remorsefully, as he strained his eyes
through the dusk, fancying he saw a small figure sitting in the
garden as it had sat on the keg the night before, laying the
generous little plot that had cost more than he could guess.
"Well, she can't help seeing the fireworks, any way, unless she is
goose enough to think she must hide in a dark closet and not look,"
said Archie, who was rather disgusted at Rose's seeming
"She will see ours capitally, but miss the big ones on the hill,
unless papa has forgotten all about them," added Steve, cutting
short the harangue Mac had begun upon the festivals of the
"I'm sure the sight of her will be better than the finest fireworks
that ever went off," said Phebe, meditating an elopement with one
of the boats if she could get a chance.
"Let things work; if she resists a brilliant invitation we give her she
will be a heroine," added Uncle Alec, secretly hoping that she
Meanwhile Rose had spent a quiet, busy day helping Dolly,
waiting on Aunt Peace, and steadily resisting Aunt Plenty's
attempts to send her back to the happy island. It had been hard in
the morning to come in from the bright world outside, with flags
flying, cannon booming, crackers popping, and everyone making
ready for a holiday, and go to washing cups, while Dolly grumbled
and the aunts lamented. It was very hard to see the day go by,
knowing how gay each hour must have been across the water, and
how a word from her would take her where she longed to be with
all her heart. But it was hardest of all when evening came and
Aunt Peace was asleep, Aunt Plenty seeing a gossip in the parlor,
Dolly established in the porch to enjoy the show, and nothing left
for the little maid to do but sit alone in her balcony and watch the
gay rockets whizz up from island, hill, and city, while bands
played and boats laden with happy people went to and fro in the
Then it must be confessed that a tear or two dimmed the blue eyes,
and once, when a very brilliant display illuminated the island for a
moment, and she fancied she saw the tents, the curly head went
down on the railing, and a wide-awake nasturtium heard a little
"I hope someone wishes I was there!"
The tears were all gone, however, and she was watching the hill
and island answer each other with what Jamie called "whizzers,
whirligigs and busters," and smiling as she thought how hard the
boys must be working to keep up such a steady fire, when Uncle
Mac came walking in upon her, saying hurriedly
"Come, child, put on your tippet, pelisse, or whatever you call it,
and run off with me. I came to get Phebe, but aunt says she is
gone, so I want you. I've got Fun down in the boat, and I want you
to go with us and see my fireworks. Got them up for you, and you
mustn't miss them, or I shall be disappointed."
"But, uncle," began Rose, feeling as if she ought to refuse even a
glimpse of bliss, "perhaps "
"I know, my dear, I know; aunt told me; but no one needs you now
so much as I do, and I insist on your coming," said Uncle Mac,
who seemed in a great hurry to be off, yet was unusually kind.
So Rose went and found the little Chinaman with a funny lantern
waiting to help her in and convulse her with laughter trying to
express his emotions in pigeon English. The city clocks were
striking nine as they got out into the bay, and the island fireworks
seemed to be over, for no rocket answered the last Roman candle
that shone on the Aunt-hill.
"Ours are done, I see, but they are going up all round the city, and
how pretty they are," said Rose, folding her mantle about her, and
surveying the scene with pensive interest.
"Hope my fellows have not got into trouble up there," muttered
Uncle Mac, adding with a satisfied chuckle, as a spark shone out,
"No; there it goes! Look, Rosy, and see how you like this one; it
was ordered especially in honour of your coming."
Rose looked with all her eyes, and saw the spark grow into the
likeness of a golden vase, then green leaves came out, and then a
crimson flower glowing on the darkness with a splendid lustre.
"Is it a rose, uncle?" she asked, clasping her hands with delight as
she recognised the handsome flower.
"Of course it is! Look again, and guess what those are," answered
Uncle Mac, chuckling and enjoying it all like a boy.
A wreath of what looked at first like purple brooms appeared
below the vase, but Rose guessed what they were meant for, and
stood straight up, holding by his shoulder, and crying excitedly
"Thistles, uncle, Scotch thistles! There are seven of them one for
each boy! Oh, what a joke!" and she laughed so that she plumped
into the bottom of the boat and stayed there till the brilliant
spectacle was quite gone.
"That was rather a neat thing, I flatter myself," said Uncle Mac, in
high glee at the success of his illumination. "Now, shall I leave you
on the Island or take you home again, my good little girl?" he
added, lifting her up with such a tone of approbation in his voice
that Rose kissed him on the spot.
"Home, please uncle; and I thank you very very much for the
beautiful firework you got up for me. I'm so glad I saw it; and I
know I shall dream about it," answered Rose steadily, though a
wistful glance went toward the Island, now so near that she could
smell powder and see shadowy figures flitting about.
Home they went; and Rose fell asleep saying to herself, "It was
harder than I thought, but I'm glad I did it, and I truly don't want
any reward but Phebe's pleasure."
Chapter 11 - Poor Mac
Rose's sacrifice was a failure in one respect, for, though the elders
loved her the better for it, and showed that they did, the boys were
not inspired with the sudden respect which she had hoped for. In
fact, her feelings were much hurt by overhearing Archie say that
he couldn't see any sense in it; and the Prince added another blow
by pronouncing her "the queerest chicken ever seen."
It is apt to be so, and it is hard to bear; for, though we do not want
trumpets blown, we do like to have our little virtues appreciated,
and cannot help feeling disappointed if they are not.
A time soon came, however, when Rose, quite unconsciously, won
not only the respect of her cousins, but their gratitude and
Soon after the Island episode, Mac had a sunstroke, and was very
ill for some time. It was so sudden that everyone was startled, and
for some days the boy's life was in danger. He pulled through,
however; and then, just as the family were rejoicing, a new trouble
appeared which cast a gloom over them all.
Poor Mac's eyes gave out; and well they might, for he had abused
them, and never being very strong, they suffered doubly now.
No one dared to tell him the dark predictions of the great oculist
who came to look at them, and the boy tried to be patient, thinking
that a few weeks of rest would repair the overwork of several
He was forbidden to look at a book, and as that was the one thing
he most delighted in, it was a terrible affliction to the Worm.
Everyone was very ready to read to him, and at first the lads
contended for this honour. But as week after week went by, and
Mac was still condemned to idleness and a darkened room, their
zeal abated, and one after the other fell off. It was hard for the
active fellows, right in the midst of their vacation; and nobody
blamed them when they contented themselves with brief calls,
running of errands, and warm expressions of sympathy.
The elders did their best, but Uncle Mac was a busy man, Aunt
Jane's reading was of a funereal sort, impossible to listen to long,
and the other aunties were all absorbed in their own cares, though
they supplied the boy with every delicacy they could invent.
Uncle Alec was a host in himself, but he could not give all his time
to the invalid; and if it had not been for Rose, the afflicted Worm
would have fared ill. Her pleasant voice suited him, her patience
was unfailing, her time of no apparent value, and her eager
good-will was very comforting.
The womanly power of self-devotion was strong in the child, and
she remained faithfully at her post when all the rest dropped away.
Hour after hour she sat in the dusky room, with one ray of light on
her book, reading to the boy, who lay with shaded eyes silently
enjoying the only pleasure that lightened the weary days.
Sometimes he was peevish and hard to please, sometimes he
growled because his reader could not manage the dry books he
wished to hear, and sometimes he was so despondent that her heart
ached to see him. Through all these trials Rose persevered, using
all her little arts to please him. When he fretted, she was patient;
when he growled, she ploughed bravely through the hard pages not
dry to her in one sense, for quiet tears dropped on them now and
then; and when Mac fell into a despairing mood, she comforted
him with every hopeful word she dared to offer.
He said little, but she knew he was grateful, for she suited him
better than anyone else. If she was late, he was impatient; when
she had to go, he seemed forlorn; and when the tired head ached
worst, she could always soothe him to sleep, crooning the old
songs her father used to love.
"I don't know what I should do without that child," Aunt Jane often
"She's worth all those racketing fellows put together," Mac would
add, fumbling about to discover if the little chair was ready for her
That was the sort of reward Rose liked, the thanks that cheered
her; and whenever she grew very tired, one look at the green
shade, the curly head so restless on the pillow, and the poor
groping hands, touched her tender heart and put new spirit into the
She did not know how much she was learning, both from the
books she read and the daily sacrifices she made. Stories and
poetry were her delight, but Mac did not care for them; and since
his favourite Greeks and Romans were forbidden, he satisfied
himself with travels, biographies, and the history of great
inventions or discoveries. Rose despised this taste at first, but soon
got interested in Livingstone's adventures, Hobson's stirring life in
India, and the brave trials and triumphs of Watt and Arkwright,
Fulton, and "Palissy, the Potter." The true, strong books helped the
dreamy girl; her faithful service and sweet patience touched and
won the boy; and long afterward both learned to see how useful
those seemingly hard and weary hours had been to them.
One bright morning, as Rose sat down to begin a fat volume
entitled "History of the French Revolution," expecting to come to
great grief over the long names, Mac, who was lumbering about
the room like a blind bear, stopped her by asking abruptly
"What day of the month is it?"
"The seventh of August, I believe."
"More than half my vacation gone, and I've only had a week of it! I
call that hard," and he groaned dismally.
"So it is; but there is more to come, and you may be able to enjoy
"May be able! I will be able! Does that old noodle think I'm going
to stay stived up here much longer?"
"I guess he does, unless your eyes get on faster than they have yet."
"Has he said anything more lately?"
"I haven't seen him, you know. Shall I begin? this looks rather
"Read away; it's all one to me." And Mac cast himself down upon
the old lounge, where his heavy head felt easiest.
Rose began with great spirit, and kept on gallantly for a couple of
chapters, getting over the unpronounceable names with unexpected
success, she thought, for her listener did not correct her once, and
lay so still she fancied he was deeply interested. All of a sudden
she was arrested in the middle of a fine paragraph by Mac, who sat
bolt upright, brought both feet down with a thump, and said, in a
rough, excited tone
"Stop! I don't hear a word, and you may as well save your breath to
answer my question."
"What is it?" asked Rose, looking uneasy, for she had something
on her mind, and feared that he suspected what it was. His next
words proved that she was right.
"Now, look here, I want to know something, and you've got to tell
"Please, don't " began Rose, beseechingly.
"You must, or I'll pull off this shade and stare at the sun as hard as
ever I can stare. Come now!" and he half rose, as if ready to
execute the threat.
"I will! oh, I will tell, if I know! But don't be reckless and do
anything so crazy as that," cried Rose, in great distress.
"Very well; then listen, and don't dodge, as everyone else does.
Didn't the doctor think my eyes worse the last time he came?
Mother won't say, but you shall."
"I believe he did," faltered Rose.
"I thought so! Did he say I should be able to go to school when it
"No, Mac," very low.
That was all, but Rose saw her cousin set his lips together and take
a long breath, as if she had hit him hard. He bore the
disappointment bravely, however, and asked quite steadily in a
"How soon does he think I can study again?"
It was so hard to answer that! Yet Rose knew she must, for Aunt
Jane had declared she could not do it, and Uncle Mac had begged
her to break the truth to the poor lad.
"Not for a good many months."
"How many?" he asked with a pathetic sort of gruffness.
"A year, perhaps."
"A whole year! Why, I expected to be ready for college by that
time." And, pushing up the shade, Mac stared at her with startled
eyes, that soon blinked and fell before the one ray of light.
"Plenty of time for that; you must be patient now, and get them
thoroughly well, or they will trouble you again when it will be
harder to spare them," she said, with tears in her own eyes.
"I won't do it! I will study and get through somehow. It's all
humbug about taking care so long. These doctors like to keep hold
of a fellow if they can. But I won't stand it I vow I won't!" and he
banged his fist down on the unoffending pillow as if he were
pommelling the hard-hearted doctor.
"Now, Mac, listen to me," Rose said very earnestly, though her
voice shook a little and her heart ached. "You know you have hurt
your eyes reading by fire-light and in the dusk, and sitting up late,
and now you'll have to pay for it; the doctor said so. You must be
careful, and do as he tells you, or you will be blind."
"Yes, it is true, and he wanted us to tell you that nothing but entire
rest would cure you. I know it's dreadfully hard, but we'll all help
you; I'll read all day long, and lead you, and wait upon you, and try
to make it easier "
She stopped there, for it was evident that he did not hear a sound;
the word "blind" seemed to have knocked him down, for he had
buried his face in the pillow, and lay so still that Rose was
frightened. She sat motionless for many minutes, longing to
comfort him, but not knowing how, and wishing Uncle Alec would
come, for he had promised to tell Mac.
Presently, a sort of choking sound came out of the pillow, and
went straight to her heart the most pathetic sob she ever heard, for,
though it was the most natural means of relief, the poor fellow
must not indulge in it because of the afflicted eyes. The "French
Revolution" tumbled out of her lap, and, running to the sofa, she
knelt down by it, saying, with the motherly sort of tenderness girls
feel for any sorrowing creature
"Oh, my dear, you mustn't cry! It is so bad for your poor eyes. Take
your head out of that hot pillow, and let me cool it. I don't wonder
you feel so, but please don't cry. I'll cry for you; it won't hurt me."
As she spoke she pulled away the cushion with gentle force, and
saw the green shade all crushed and stained with the few hot tears
that told how bitter the disappointment had been. Mac felt her
sympathy, but, being a boy, did not thank her for it; only sat up
with a jerk, saying, as he tried to rub away the tell-tale drops with
the sleeve of his jacket, "Don't bother; weak eyes always water. I'm
But Rose cried out, and caught his arm, "Don't touch them with
that rough woollen stuff! Lie down and let me bathe them, there's a
dear boy; then there will be no harm done."
"They do smart confoundedly. I say, don't you tell the other fellows
that I made a baby of myself, will you?" he added, yielding with a
sigh to the orders of his nurse, who had flown for the eye-wash and
linen cambric handkerchief.
"Of course I won't; but anyone would be upset at the idea of being
well troubled in this way. I'm sure you bear it splendidly, and you
know it isn't half so bad when you get used to it. Besides, it is only
for a time, and you can do lots of pleasant things if you can't study.
You'll have to wear blue goggles, perhaps; won't that be funny?"
And while she was pouring out all the comfortable words she
could think of, Rose was softly bathing the eyes and dabbing the
hot forehead with lavender-water, as her patient lay quiet with a
look on his face that grieved her sadly.
"Homer was blind, and so was Milton, and they did something to
be remembered by, in spite of it," he said, as if to himself, in a
solemn tone, for even the blue goggles did not bring a smile.
"Papa had a picture of Milton and his daughters writing for him. It
was a very sweet picture, I thought," observed Rose in a serious
voice, trying to meet the sufferer on his own ground.
"Perhaps I could study if someone read and did the eye part. Do
you suppose I could, by and by?" he asked, with a sudden ray of
"I dare say, if your head is strong enough. This sunstroke, you
know, is what upset you, and your brain needs rest, the doctor
"I'll have a talk with the old fellow next time he comes, and find
out just what I may do; then I shall know where I am. What a fool I
was that day to be stewing my brains and letting the sun glare on
my book till the letters danced before me! I see 'em now when I
shut my eyes; black balls bobbing round, and stars and all sorts of
queer things. Wonder if all blind people do?"
"Don't think about them; I'll go on reading, shall I? We shall come
to the exciting part soon, and then you'll forget all this," suggested
"No, I never shall forget. Hang the old 'Revolution'! I don't want to
hear another word of it. My head aches, and I'm hot. Oh, wouldn't I
like to go for a pull in the 'Stormy Petrel!"' and poor Mac tossed
about as if he did not know what to do with himself.
"Let me sing, and perhaps you'll drop off; then the day will seem
shorter," said Rose, taking up a fan and sitting down beside him.
"Perhaps I shall; I didn't sleep much last night, and when I did I
dreamed like fun. See here, you tell the people that I know, and it's
all right, and I don't want them to talk about it or howl over me.
That's all; now drone away, and I'll try to sleep. Wish I could for a
year, and wake up cured."
"Oh, I wish, I wish you could!"
Rose said it so fervently that Mac was moved to grope for her
apron and hold on to a corner of it, as if it was comfortable to feel
her near him. But all he said was
"You are a good little soul, Rosy. Give us 'The Birks'; that is a
drowsy one that always sends me off."
Quite contented with this small return for all her sympathy, Rose
waved her fan and sang, in a dreamy tone, the pretty Scotch air, the
burden of which is
"Bonny lassie, will ye gang, will ye gang
To the Birks of Aberfeldie?"
Whether the lassie went or not I cannot say, but the laddie was off
to the land of Nod, in about ten minutes, quite worn out with
hearing the bad tidings and the effort to bear them manfully.
Chapter 12 - "The Other Fellows"
Rose did tell "the people" what had passed, and no one "howled"
over Mac, or said a word to trouble him. He had his talk with the
doctor, and got very little comfort out of it, for he found that "just
what he might do" was nothing at all; though the prospect of some
study by and by, if all went well, gave him courage to bear the
woes of the present. Having made up his mind to this, he behaved
so well that everyone was astonished, never having suspected so
much manliness in the quiet Worm.
The boys were much impressed, both by the greatness of the
affliction which hung over him and by his way of bearing it. They
were very good to him, but not always particularly wise in their
attempts to cheer and amuse; and Rose often found him much
downcast after a visit of condolence from the Clan. She still kept
her place as head-nurse and chief-reader, though the boys did their
best in an irregular sort of way. They were rather taken aback
sometimes at finding Rose's services preferred to their's, and
privately confided to one another that "Old Mac was getting fond
of being molly-coddled." But they could not help seeing how
useful she was, and owning that she alone had remained faithful a
fact which caused some of them much secret compunction now
Rose felt that she ruled in that room, if nowhere else, for Aunt
Jane left a great deal to her, finding that her experience with her
invalid father fitted her for a nurse, and in a case like this, her
youth was an advantage rather than a drawback. Mac soon came to
think that no one could take care of him so well as Rose, and Rose
soon grew fond of her patient, though at first she had considered
this cousin the least attractive of the seven. He was not polite and
sensible like Archie, nor gay and handsome like Prince Charlie,
nor neat and obliging like Steve, nor amusing like the "Brats," nor
confiding and affectionate like little Jamie. He was rough,
absent-minded, careless, and awkward, rather priggish, and not at
all agreeable to a dainty, beauty-loving girl like Rose.
But when his trouble came upon him, she discovered many good
things in this cousin of hers, and learned not only to pity but to
respect and love the poor Worm, who tried to be patient, brave,
and cheerful, and found it a harder task than anyone guessed,
except the little nurse, who saw him in his gloomiest moods. She
soon came to think that his friends did not appreciate him, and
upon one occasion was moved to free her mind in a way that made
a deep impression on the boys.
Vacation was almost over, and the time drawing near when Mac
would be left outside the happy school-world which he so much
enjoyed. This made him rather low in his mind, and his cousins
exerted themselves to cheer him up, especially one afternoon when
a spasm of devotion seemed to seize them all. Jamie trudged down
the hill with a basket of blackberries which he had "picked all his
ownself," as his scratched fingers and stained lips plainly testified.
Will and Geordie brought their puppies to beguile the weary hours,
and the three elder lads called to discuss baseball, cricket, and
kindred subjects, eminently fitted to remind the invalid of his
Rose had gone to drive with Uncle Alec, who declared she was
getting as pale as a potato sprout, living so much in a dark room.
But her thoughts were with her boy all the while, and she ran up to
him the moment she returned, to find things in a fine state of
With the best intentions in life, the lads had done more harm than
good, and the spectacle that met Nurse Rose's eye was a trying
one. The puppies were yelping, the small boys romping, and the
big boys all talking at once; the curtains were up, the room close,
berries scattered freely about, Mac's shade half off, his cheeks
flushed, his temper ruffled, and his voice loudest of all as he
disputed hotly with Steve about lending certain treasured books
which he could no longer use.
Now Rose considered this her special kingdom, and came down
upon the invaders with an energy which amazed them and quelled