I... really adore this book couplet. Perhaps because Rose is surrounded by boys, which is often how I feel myself... or perhaps because her mission in life is to be useful and good and edifying to those around her - especially her boy cousins.
Or maybe it's because I predicted back in Eight Cousins, when she was 12 or so, who she would marry at the end of Rose in Bloom, when she was 20-something. I also applaud her decision. She picked the one I would have. =P
Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom have taught me way too much to mention here...
"Young eyes look for a Paradise, and weep when they find a work-a-day world, which seems full of care and trouble, till one learns to gladden and glorify it with high thoughts and holy living."
"It was impossible for her to help seeing, hearing, guess from a significant glance, a stray word, a slight hint here and there; and the quick instinct of a woman felt even before it understood the self-interest which chilled for her so many opening friendships. In her eyes, love was a very sacred thing, hardly to be thought of till it came, reverently received, and cherished faithfully to the end. Therefore, it is not strange that she shrunk from hearing it flippantly discussed, and marriage treated as a bargain to be haggled over, with little thought of its high duties, great responsibilities, and tender joys...
Dr. Alec understood the mood in which he found her, and did his best to warn without saddening by too much worldly wisdom. "You are something besides an heiress to those who know and love you; so take heart, my girl and hold fast to the faith that is in you. There is a touchstone for all these things, and whatever does not ring true doubt and avoid. Test and try men and women as the come along; and I am sure conscience, instinct, and expreience will keep you from any dire mistake," he said, with a protecting arm about her, and a trustful look that was very comforting.
After a moment's pause, she answered, while a sudden smile dimpled round her mouth, and the big glove went up to half hide her tell-tale cheeks, -
"Uncle, if I must have lovers, I do wish they'd be more ineresting. How can I like or respect men who go on as some of them do, and then imagine women can feel honored by the offer of their hands? Hearts are out of fashion, so they don't say much about them."
"I don't like prigs. I want a gentleman in the best sense of the word, and I can wait; for I've seen one, and know there are more in the world."
...[he] saw her sink down at his feet sink down at his feet in a passion of tears that frightened him. He took her to the sofa, and tried to comfort her; but, as soon as the bitter sobbing quieted, she looked up and said quite steadily, great drops rolling down her cheeks the while, - "Let me cry; it is what I need, and I shall be all the better for it by and by."
...Mac [marveled] in his turn at the curiously blended strength and weakness of womankind.