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fact established at once.
Jamie occupied the rug, on which Will and Geordie stood at ease,
showing their uniforms to the best advantage, for they were now in
a great school, where military drill was the delight of their souls.
Steve posed gracefully in an armchair, with Mac lounging over the
back of it, while Archie leaned on one corner of the low
chimneypiece, looking down at Phebe as she listened to his chat
with smiling lips and cheeks almost as rich in color as the
carnations in her belt.
But Charlie was particularly effective, although he sat upon a
music stool, that most trying position for any man not gifted with
grace in the management of his legs. Fortunately Prince was, and
had fallen into an easy attitude, with one arm over the back of the
sofa, his handsome head bent a little, as he monopolized Rose,
with a devoted air and a very becoming expression of contentment
on his face.
Aunt Clara smiled as if well pleased; Aunt Jessie looked
thoughtful; Aunt Jane's keen eyes went from dapper Steve to
broad-shouldered Mac with an anxious glance; Mrs. Myra
murmured something about her "blessed Caroline"; and Aunt
Plenty said warmly, "Bless the dears! Anyone might be proud of
such a bonny flock of bairns as that."
"I am all ready to play chaperon as soon as you please, Alec, for I
suppose the dear girl will come out at once, as she did not before
you went away. My services won't be wanted long, I fancy, for
with her many advantages she will be carried off in her first season
or I'm much mistaken," said Mrs. Clara, with significant nods and
"You must settle all those matters with Rose. I am no longer
captain, only first mate now, you know," answered Dr. Alec,
adding soberly, half to himself, half to his brother, "I wonder
people are in such haste to 'bring out' their daughters, as it's called.
To me there is something almost pathetic in the sight of a young
girl standing on the threshold of the world, so innocent and
hopeful, so ignorant of all that lies before her, and usually so ill
prepared to meet the ups and downs of life. We do our duty better
by the boys, but the poor little women are seldom provided with
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