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"The whole thing was deuced disagreeable," growled Steve, who
felt that he had not distinguished himself in the late engagement.
"Truth generally is," observed Mac dryly as he strolled away with
his odd smile.
As if he suspected discord somewhere, Dr. Alec proposed music at
this crisis, and the young people felt that it was a happy thought.
"I want you to hear both my birds, for they have improved
immensely, and I am very proud of them," said the doctor, twirling
up the stool and pulling out the old music books.
"I had better come first, for after you have heard the nightingale
you won't care for the canary," added Rose, wishing to put Phebe
at her ease, for she sat among them looking like a picture, but
rather shy and silent, remembering the days when her place was in
"I'll give you some of the dear old songs you used to like so much.
This was a favorite, I think," and sitting down she sang the first
familiar air that came, and sang it well in a pleasant, but by no
means finished, manner.
It chanced to be "The Birks of Aberfeldie," and vividly recalled the
time when Mac was ill and she took care of him. The memory was
sweet to her, and involuntarily her eye wandered in search of him.
He was not far away, sitting just as he used to sit when she soothed
his most despondent moods astride of a chair with his head down
on his arms, as if the song suggested the attitude. Her heart quite
softened to him as she looked, and she decided to forgive him if no
one else, for she was sure that he had no mercenary plans about
her tiresome money.
Charlie had assumed a pensive air and fixed his fine eyes upon her
with an expression of tender admiration, which made her laugh in
spite of all her efforts to seem unconscious of it. She was both
amused and annoyed at his very evident desire to remind her of
certain sentimental passages in the last year of their girl- and
boy-hood, and to change what she had considered a childish joke
into romantic earnest. Rose had very serious ideas of love and had
no intention of being beguiled into even a flirtation with her
So Charlie attitudinized unnoticed and was getting rather out of
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