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Chapter 13 BOTH SIDES
Steve's engagement made a great stir in the family a pleasant one
this time, for nobody objected, everything seemed felicitous, and
the course of true love ran very smoothly for the young couple,
who promised to remove the only obstacle to their union by
growing old and wise as soon as possible. If he had not been so
genuinely happy, the little lover's airs would have been unbearable,
for he patronized all mankind in general, his brother and elder
cousins in particular.
"Now, that is the way to manage matters," he declared, standing
before the fire in Aunt Clara's billiard room a day or two after the
ball, with his hands behind his back. "No nonsense, no delay, no
domestic rows or tragic separations. Just choose with taste and
judgment, make yourself agreeable through thick and thin, and
when it is perfectly evident that the dear creature adores the
ground you walk on, say the word like a man, and there you are."
"All very easy to do that with a girl like Kitty, who has no
confounded notions to spoil her and trip you up every time you
don't exactly toe the mark," muttered Charlie, knocking the balls
about as if it were a relief to hit something, for he was in a
gloriously bad humor that evening, because time hung heavy on
his hands since he had forsworn the company he could not keep
without danger to himself.
"You should humor those little notions, for all women have them,
and it needs tact to steer clear of them. Kitty's got dozens, but I
treat them with respect, have my own way when I can, give in
without growling when I can't, and we get on like a couple of--"
"Spoons," put in Charlie, who felt that he had not steered clear and
so suffered shipwreck in sight of land.
Steve meant to have said "doves," but his cousin's levity caused
him to add with calm dignity, "reasonable beings," and then
revenged himself by making a good shot which won him the game.
"You always were a lucky little dog, Steve. I don't begrudge you a
particle of your happiness, but it does seem as if things weren't
quite fair sometimes," said Archie, suppressing an envious sigh,
for, though he seldom complained, it was impossible to contrast
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