heretofore, from the days when the boys fought for the privilege

of dragging her sled up the hills, and filling her tiny mitten

with peppermints, down to the year when she came home from the

Wareham Female Seminary, an acknowledged belle and beauty.

Suddenly she had felt her popularity dwindling. There was no

real change in the demeanor of her acquaintances, but there was a

certain subtle difference of atmosphere. Everybody sympathized

tacitly with Stephen, and she did not wonder, for there were

times when she secretly took his part against herself. Only a

few candid friends had referred to the rupture openly in

conversation, but these had been bluntin their disapproval.

It seemed part of her ill fortune that just at this time Rufus

should be threatened with partial blindness, and that Stephen's

heart, already sore, should be torn with new anxieties. She

could hardly bear to see the doctor's carriage drive by day after

day, and hear night after night that Rufus was unresigned,

melancholy, half mad; while Stephen, as the doctor said, was

brother, mother, and father in one, as gentle as a woman, as firm

as Gibraltar.

These foes to her peace of mind all came from within; but without

was 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

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