Rosie, the Lees by Unknown

The Lees were a clever family; all their friends said so. Tom was good at games, and had carried off several prizes at the school sports; Percy was a first-class reciter; Emma sang, and played the piano; whilst Alice drew very well, and had a larger collection of picture post-cards than any other girl she knew.

Rosie, however, the youngest, was not in any way remarkable: 'Indeed, you would hardly think her one of us—she is so unlike the rest,' Alice would say, with a slighting glance at the little sister who never did anything particular; only worked and helped, and was at everybody's beck and call.

Rosie was used to being made of small account, and did not mind it much. When a rich aunt of the Lees announced her intention of coming to pay them a visit, and then perhaps choosing one of the young people to be her companion during a long stay in London, it did not for a moment occur to the little girl that she could be the favoured one. She listened without jealousy to the chorus of brothers and sisters, planning what they should do in the event of being chosen.

'I would go to a cricket match at Lord's,' said Tom. 'And I,' said Emma, 'to some of the best concerts.' Alice had fixed her heart on seeing the picture galleries, and Percy was resolved to hear some great speakers. Each of them thought it very likely that he, or she, would be Aunt Mary's choice.

Aunt Mary, when she came, kept her own counsel. She was kind to all her nephews and nieces, but did not single out one more than another. It was not until the last day of her stay arrived that she said to their mother, 'If you will let me have Rosie for a companion, my dear, I shall be only too glad to take her to town, and give her a really pleasant time.'

Rosie's surprise, and her disappointment for the sake of her brothers and sisters, silenced the rest: when they could speak, it was to ask each other what their aunt could possibly see in her. If they had overheard a talk between Mrs. Lee and Aunt Mary, later in the day, they might have understood.

'Your other young people are charming,' said Aunt Mary, 'so bright and clever; but they are a little—just a little—too apt to be wrapped up in themselves and their own pursuits. If Rosie goes with me, I shall have some one who will think of me too, for the child does not seem to know what selfishness is.'