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"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
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