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laughing, to the great surprise of his neighbors, who wondered
what there was amusing about the Chinese sage. "It is rather
alarming, though, to have these infants going on at this rate. Seems
to be catching, a new sort of scarlet fever, to judge by Annabel's
cheeks and Kitty's gown," he added, regarding the aforesaid ladies
with eyes still twinkling with merriment.
"Don't be ungallant, but go and do likewise, for it is all the fashion.
I heard Mrs. Van tell old Mrs. Joy that it was going to be a
marrying year, so you'll be sure to catch it," answered Rose,
reefing her skirts, for, with all his training, Mac still found it
difficult to keep his long legs out of the man-traps.
"It doesn't look like a painful disease, but I must be careful, for I've
no time to be ill now. What are the symptoms?" asked Mac, trying
to combine business with pleasure and improve his mind while
doing his duty.
"If you ever come back I'll tell you," laughed Rose as he danced
away into the wrong corner, bumped smartly against another
gentleman, and returned as soberly as if that was the proper figure.
"Well, tell me 'how not to do it,'" he said, subsiding for a
moment's talk when Rose had floated to and fro in her turn.
"Oh! You see some young girl who strikes you as particularly
charming whether she really is or not doesn't matter a bit and you
begin to think about her a great deal, to want to see her, and to get
generally sentimental and absurd," began Rose, finding it difficult
to give a diagnosis of the most mysterious disease under the sun.
"Don't think it sounds enticing. Can't I find an antidote somewhere,
for if it is in the air this year I'm sure to get it, and it may be fatal,"
said Mac, who felt pretty lively and liked to make Rose merry, for
he suspected that she had a little trouble from a hint Dr. Alec had
"I hope you will catch it, because you'll be so funny."
"Will you take care of me as you did before, or have you got your
"I'll help, but really with Archie and Steve and Charlie, I shall have
enough to do. You'd better take it lightly the first time, and so
won't need much care."
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