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In Louisa May Alcott's Eight Cousins, first published in 1875, a young woman called Rose is being given a conventional girl's upbringing by her aunts in a dark and stuffy old mausoleum of a house. Then Uncle Alec becomes Rose's new guardian. He strides into the house, throws open the curtains and windows, and hustles his ward into the outdoors. He throws out her old confining clothes and buys her new ones, changes her diet, and with his vigorous scientific intellect begins helping her to clear her mind of received opinions. With the very first paragraph of The Path of the Law, we know Uncle Alec has arrived and that the old Victorian mansion will never be the same again.

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