Louisa May Alcott: Rose in Bloom

Chapter 18. WHICH WAS IT? (continued)

Three days later Mac said "good-bye" in earnest, and no one was surprised that he left somewhat abruptly, such being his way, and a course of lectures by a famous physician the ostensible reason for a trip to L----. Uncle Alec deserted most shamefully at the last moment by sending word that he would be at the station to see the traveler off, Aunt Plenty was still in her room, so when Mac came down from his farewell to her, Rose met him in the hall, as if anxious not to delay him. She was a little afraid of another tete-a-tete, as she fared so badly at the last, and had assumed a calm and cousinly air which she flattered herself would plainly show on what terms she wished to part.

Mac apparently understood, and not only took the hint, but surpassed her in cheerful composure, for, merely saying "Good-bye, Cousin; write when you feel like it," he shook hands and walked out of the house as tranquilly as if only a day instead of three months were to pass before they met again. Rose felt as if a sudden shower bath had chilled her and was about to retire, saying to herself with disdainful decision: "There's no love about it after all, only one of the eccentricities of genius," when a rush of cold air made her turn to find herself in what appeared to be the embrace of an impetuous overcoat, which wrapped her close for an instant, then vanished as suddenly as it had come, leaving her to hide in the sanctum and confide to Psyche with a tender sort of triumph in her breathless voice: "No, no, it isn't genius that must be love!"

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