Bread and Button-Holes
What in the world is my girl thinking about all alone here, with such a solemn face? asked Dr. Alec, coming into the study, one November day, to find Rose sitting there with folded hands and a very thoughtful aspect.
Uncle, I want to have some serious conversation with you, if you have time, she said, coming out of a brown study, as if she had not heard his question.
Im entirely at your service, and most happy to listen, he answered, in his politest manner, for when Rose put on her womanly little airs he always treated her with a playful sort of respect that pleased her very much.
Now, as he sat down beside her, she said, very soberly
Ive been trying to decide what trade I would learn, and I want you to advise me.
Trade, my dear? and Dr. Alec looked so astonished that she hastened to explain.
I forgot that you didnt hear the talk about it up at Cosey Corner. You see we used to sit under the pines and sew, and talk a great dealall the ladies, I meanand I liked it very much. Mother Atkinson thought that everyone should have a trade, or something to make a living out of, for rich people may grow poor, you know, and poor people have to work. Her girls were very clever, and could do ever so many things, and Aunt Jessie thought the old lady was right; so when I saw how happy and independent those young ladies were, I wanted to have a trade, and then it wouldnt matter about money, though I like to have it well enough.
Dr. Alec listened to this explanation with a curious mixture of surprise, pleasure, and amusement in his face, and looked at his little niece as if she had suddenly changed into a young woman. She had grown a good deal in the last six months, and an amount of thinking had gone on in that young head which would have astonished him greatly could he have known it all, for Rose was one of the children who observe and meditate much, and now and then nonplus their friends by a wise or curious remark.
I quite agree with the ladies, and shall be glad to help you decide on something if I can, said the Doctor seriously. What do you incline to? A natural taste or talent is a great help in choosing, you know.
I havent any talent, or any especial taste that I can see, and that is why I cant decide, uncle. So, I think it would be a good plan to pick out some very useful business and learn it, because I dont do it for pleasure, you see, but as a part of my education, and to be ready in case Im ever poor, answered Rose, looking as if she rather longed for a little poverty so that her useful gift might be exercised.
Well, now, there is one very excellent, necessary, and womanly accomplishment that no girl should be without, for it is a help to rich and poor, and the comfort of families depends upon it. This fine talent is neglected nowadays, and considered old-fashioned, which is a sad mistake, and one that I dont mean to make in bringing up my girl. It should be a part of every girls education, and I know of a most accomplished lady who will teach you in the best and pleasantest manner.
Oh, what is it? cried Rose eagerly, charmed to be met in this helpful and cordial way.
Housekeeping! answered Dr. Alec.
Is that an accomplishment? asked Rose, while her face fell, for she had indulged in all sorts of vague, delightful dreams.
Yes; it is one of the most beautiful as well as useful of all the arts a woman can learn. Not so romantic, perhaps, as singing, painting, writing, or teaching, even; but one that makes many happy and comfortable, and home the sweetest place in the world. Yes, you may open your big eyes; but it is a fact that I had rather see you a good housekeeper than the greatest belle in the city. It need not interfere with any
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