I have a lot of cousins, and I saw some of them on Christmas Day. Here’s a story about a girl named Rose who goes to live with her aunts and uncle and seven boy cousins. At the beginning she isn’t much interested in boys. But throughout the book we see her adventures and her maturity as she lives with them a year. Louisa May Alcott always writes a nice story and her characters are mostly nice, as well. No real bad villains here. The worst seems to be Aunt Clara who tries to dress up Rose in an ugly, fashionable, restrictive street dress. But Uncle Alec saves the day with his practicality and wisdom. The most interesting character is Rose, of course, and here is a tidbit of what she is like:
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 [Uncle Alec] 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.
— from Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott, 1874
I’ve always liked the word “nonplus.” I think I learned it in high school when the drama department put on an English play. And I like the quiet type of thinkers who have a lot going on upstairs and occasionally let out a small portion of that thinking into spoken word. My girls do that at night, right before bed. I hope I can respect their reserve and not push aside their little insights.