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25. XXV. ROSES OF JOY
The day before Rebecca started for the South with Miss Maxwell she was in the library with Emma Jane and Huldah, consulting dictionaries and encyclopaedias. As they were leaving they passed the locked cases containing the library of fiction, open to the teachers and townspeople, but forbidden to the students.
They looked longingly through the glass, getting some little comfort from the titles of the volumes, as hungry children imbibe emotional nourishment from the pies and tarts inside a confectioner's window. Rebecca's eyes fell upon a new book in the corner, and she read the name aloud with delight: "The Rose of Joy. Listen, girls; isn't that lovely? The Rose of Joy. It looks beautiful, and it sounds beautiful. What does it mean, I wonder?"
"I guess everybody has a different rose," said Huldah shrewdly. "I know what mine would be, and I'm not ashamed to own it. I'd like a year in a city, with just as much money as I wanted to spend, horses and splendid clothes and amusements every minute of the day; and I'd like above everything to live with people that wear low necks." (Poor Huldah never took off her dress without bewailing the fact that her lot was cast in Riverboro, where her pretty white shoulders could never be seen.)
"That would be fun, for a while anyway," Emma Jane remarked. "But wouldn't that be pleasure more than joy? Oh, I've got an idea!"
"Don't shriek so!" said the startled Huldah. "I thought it was a mouse."
"I don't have them very often," apologized Emma Jane,--"ideas, I mean; this one shook me like a stroke of lightning. Rebecca, couldn't it be success?"
"That's good," mused Rebecca; "I can see that success would be a joy, but it doesn't seem to me like a rose, somehow. I was wondering if it could be love?"
"I wish we could have a peep at the book! It must be perfectly elergant!" said Emma Jane. "But now you say it is love, I think that's the best guess yet."
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