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clear what had happened to him at first, and sat about in a dazed
sort of way, seeing, hearing, knowing nothing but Phebe, while the
unconscious idol found something wanting in the cordial praise so
modestly received because Mr. Archie never said a word.
This was one of the remarkable things which occurred that
evening. Another was that Mac paid Rose a compliment, which
was such an unprecedented fact, it produced a great sensation,
though only one person heard it.
Everybody had gone but Mac and his father, who was busy with
the doctor. Aunt Plenty was counting the teaspoons in the dining
room, and Phebe was helping her as of old. Mac and Rose were
alone he apparently in a brown study, leaning his elbows on the
chimneypiece, and she lying back in a low chair looking
thoughtfully at the fire. She was tired, and the quiet was grateful to
her, so she kept silence and Mac respectfully held his tongue.
Presently, however, she became conscious that he was looking at
her as intently as eyes and glasses could do it, and without stirring
from her comfortable attitude, she said, smiling up at him, "He
looks as wise as an owl I wonder what he's thinking about?"
"Something good, I hope?"
"I was thinking Leigh Hunt was about right when he said, 'A girl is
the sweetest thing God ever made.'"
"Why, Mac!" and Rose sat bolt upright with an astonished face this
was such an entirely unexpected sort of remark for the philosopher
Evidently interested in the new discovery, Mac placidly continued,
"Do you know, it seems as if I never really saw a girl before, or
had any idea what agreeable creatures they could be. I fancy you
are a remarkably good specimen, Rose."
"No, indeed! I'm only hearty and happy, and being safe at home
again may make me look better than usual perhaps, but I'm no
beauty except to Uncle."
"'Hearty and happy' that must be it," echoed Mac, soberly
investigating the problem. "Most girls are sickly or silly, I think I
have observed, and that is probably why I am so struck with you."
"Of all the queer boys you are the queerest! Do you really mean
that you don't like or notice girls?" asked Rose, much amused at
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