Miss Emily Braid was a softer creature than her sister, and she had, somewhere in her heart, some sort of affection for her niece. She made, now and then, little buccaneering raids upon the nursery, with the intention of arriving at some intimate terms with that strange animal. But she had no gift of ease with children; her attempts at friendliness were viewed by Angelina with the gravest suspicion and won no return. This annoyed Miss Emily, and because she was conscious that she herself was in reality to blame, she attacked Angelina all the more fiercely. “This brooding must be stopped,” she said. “Really, it’s most unhealthy.”
It was quite impossible for her to believe that a child of three could really be interested by golden sunsets, the colours of the fountain that was in the centre of the gardens, the soft, grey haze that clothed the houses on a spring evening; and when, therefore, she saw Angelina gazing at these things, she decided that the child was morbid. Any interest, however, that Angelina may have taken in her aunts before Rose’s arrival was now reduced to less than nothing at all.
“That doll that Edward gave the child,” said Miss Emily to her sister, “is having a very bad effect on her. Makes her more moody than ever.”
“Such a hideous thing!” said Miss Violet. “Well, I shall take it away if I see much more of this nonsense.”
It was lucky for Rose meanwhile that she was of a healthy constitution. The meals, the dressing and undressing, the perpetual demands upon her undivided attention, the sudden rousings from her sleep, the swift rockings back into slumber again, the appeals for response, the abuses for indifference, these things would have slain within a week one of her more feeble sisters. But Rose was made of stern stuff, and her rosy cheeks were as rosy, the brightness of her eyes was undimmed. We may believe—and surely many harder demands are made upon our faith—that there did arise a very special relationship between these two. The whole of Angelina’s heart was now devoted to Rose’s service, Rose’s was not devoted to Angelina?... And always Angelina wondered when her friend would return, watched for him in the dusk, awoke in the early mornings and listened for him, searched the Square with its trees and its fountain for his presence.
“Wosie, when did he say he’d come next?” But Rose could not tell. There were times when Rose’s impenetrability was, to put it at its mildest, aggravating.
Meanwhile, the situation with Aunt Emily grew serious. Angelina was aware that Aunt Emily disliked Rose, and her mouth now shut very tightly and her eyes glared defiance when she thought of this, but her difference with her aunt went more deeply than this. She had known for a long, long time that both her aunts would stop her “dreaming” if they could. Did she tell them about her friend, about the kind of pictures of which the fountain reminded her, about