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quite so many aunts. They are all very good to me, and I want to
please them; but they are so different, I feel sort of pulled to pieces
among them," said Rose, trying to express the emotions of a stray
chicken with six hens all clucking over it at once.
Uncle Alec threw back his head and laughed like a boy, for he
could entirely understand how the good ladies had each put in her
oar and tried to paddle her own way, to the great disturbance of the
waters and the entire bewilderment of poor Rose.
"I intend to try a course of uncles now, and see how that suits your
constitution. I'm going to have you all to myself, and no one is to
give a word of advice unless I ask it. There is no other way to keep
order aboard, and I am captain of this little craft, for a time at
least. What comes next?"
But Rose stuck there, and grew so red, her uncle guessed what that
"I don't think I can tell this one. It wouldn't be polite, and I feel
pretty sure that it isn't going to be a trouble any more."
As she blushed and stammered over these words, Dr. Alec turned
his eyes away to the distant sea, and said so seriously, so tenderly,
that she felt every word and long remembered them
"My child, I don't expect you to love and trust me all at once, but I
do want you to believe that I shall give my whole heart to this new
duty; and if I make mistakes, as I probably shall, no one will grieve
over them more bitterly than I. It is my fault that I am a stranger to
you, when I want to be your best friend. That is one of my
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