the hourly reproach of her grandmother, whose scorching tongue touched

every sensitive spot in the girl's nature and burned it like fire.

Finally a way of escape opened. Mrs. Wealthy Brooks, who had always been

rheumatic, grew suddenly worse. She had heard of a "magnetic" physician

in Boston, also of one who used electricity with wonderful effect, and

she announced her intention of taking both treatments impartially and

alternately. The neighbors were quite willing that Wealthy Ann Brooks

should spend the deceased Ezra's money in any way she pleased,--she had

earned it, goodness knows, by living with him for twenty-five

years,--but before the day for her departure arrived her right arm and

knee became so much more painful that it was impossible for her to

travel alone.

At this juncture Rose was called upon to act as nurse and companion in a

friendly way. She seized the opportunity hungrily as a way out of her

present trouble; but, knowing what Mrs. Brooks's temper was in time of

health, she could see clearly what it was likely to prove when pain and

anguish wrung the brow.

Rose had been in Boston now for some weeks, and she was sitting in the

Joy Street boarding-house,--Joy Street, forsooth! It was nearly bedtime,

and she was looking out upon a huddle of roofs and back yards, upon a

landscape filled with clothes-lines, ash-barrels, and ill-fed cats.

There were no sleek country tabbies, with the memory in their eyes of

tasted cream, nothing but city-born, city-bred, thin, despairing cats of

the pavement, cats no more forlorn than Rose herself.


She had "seen Boston," for she had accompanied Mrs. Brooks in the

horse-cars daily to the two different temples of healing where that lady

worshipped and offered sacrifices. She had also gone with Maude

Arthurlena to Claude Merrill's store to buy pair of gloves, and had

overheard Miss Dix (the fashionable "lady-assistant" before mentioned)

say to Miss Brackett of the ribbon department, that she thought Mr.

Merrill must have worn his blinders that time he stayed so long in

Edgewood. This bit of polished irony was unintelligible to Rose at

first, but she mastered it after an hour's reflection. She wasn't

looking her best that day, she knew; the cotton dresses that seemed so

pretty at home were common and countrified here, and her best black

cashmere looked cheap and shapeless beside Miss Dix's brilliantine. Miss

Dix's figure was her strong point, and her dressmaker was particularly

skillful in the arts of suggestion, concealment, and revelation. Beauty

has its chosen backgrounds. Rose in white dimity, standing knee deep in

her blossoming brier bushes, the river running at her feet, dark pine

trees behind her graceful head, sounded depths and touched heights of

harmony forever beyond the reach of the modish Miss Dix, but she was

out of her element and suffered accordingly.

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