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"I'm not surprised at that," said Uncle Alec, half to himself, adding,
in his quick way: "Who have you had to play with?"
"No one but Ariadne Blish, and she was such a goose I couldn't
bear her. The boys came yesterday, and seemed rather nice; but, of
course, I couldn't play with them."
"I'm too old to play with boys."
"Not a bit of it; that's just what you need, for you've been
molly-coddled too much. They are good lads, and you'll be mixed
up with them more or less for years to come, so you may as well
be friends and playmates at once. I will look you up some girls
also, if I can find a sensible one who is not spoilt by her
"Phebe is sensible, I'm sure, and I like her, though I only saw her
yesterday," cried Rose, waking up suddenly.
"And who is Phebe, if you please?"
Rose eagerly told all she knew, and Uncle Alec listened, with an
odd smile lurking about his mouth, though his eyes were quite
sober as he watched the face before him.
"I'm glad to see that you are not aristocratic in your tastes, but I
don't quite make out why you like this young lady from the
"You may laugh at me, but I do. I can't tell why, only she seems so
happy and busy, and sings so beautifully, and is strong enough to
scrub and sweep, and hasn't any troubles to plague her," said Rose,
making a funny jumble of reasons in her efforts to explain.
"How do you know that?"
"Oh, I was telling her about mine, and asked if she had any, and
she said, 'No, only I'd like to go to school, and I mean to some
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