Louisa May Alcott: Rose in Bloom

Chapter 17. AMONG THE HAYCOCKS (continued)

Jamie immediately fraternized with neighboring boys and devoted himself to fishing with an ardor which deserved greater success. Aunt Jessie reveled in reading, for which she had no time at home, and lay in her hammock a happy woman, with no socks to darn, buttons to sew, or housekeeping cares to vex her soul. Rose went about with Dulce like a very devoted hen with one rather feeble chicken, for she was anxious to have this treatment work well and tended her little patient with daily increasing satisfaction. Dr. Alec came up to pass a few days and pronounced the child in a most promising condition. But the grand event of the season was the unexpected arrival of Phebe.

Two of her pupils had invited her to join them in a trip to the mountains, and she ran away from the great hotel to surprise her little mistress with a sight of her, so well and happy that Rose had no anxiety left on her account.

Three delightful days they spent, roaming about together, talking as only girls can talk after a long separation, and enjoying one another like a pair of lovers. As if to make it quite perfect, by one of those remarkable coincidences which sometimes occur, Archie happened to run up for the Sunday, so Phebe had her surprise, and Aunt Jessie and the telegraph kept their secret so well, no one ever knew what maternal machinations brought the happy accident to pass.

Then Rose saw a very pretty, pastoral bit of lovemaking, and long after it was over, and Phebe gone one way, Archie another, the echo of sweet words seemed to linger in the air, tender ghosts to haunt the pine grove, and even the big coffeepot had a halo of romance about it, for its burnished sides reflected the soft glances the lovers interchanged as one filled the other's cup at that last breakfast.

Rose found these reminiscences more interesting than any novel she had read, and often beguiled her long leisure by planning a splendid future for her Phebe as she trotted about after her baby in the lovely July weather.

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