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"She didn't. I suspected, and now I know," laughed Rose, delighted
to have caught him.
Much discomfited, Mac gave poor Keats a fling and, leaning on
both elbows, tried to hide his face for it had reddened like that of a
modest girl when teased about her lover.
"You needn't look so guilty; it is no sin to write poetry," said Rose,
amused at his confession.
"It's a sin to call that rubbish poetry," muttered Mac with great
"It is a greater sin to tell a fib and say you never write it."
"Reading so much sets one thinking about such things, and every
fellow scribbles a little jingle when he is lazy or in love, you
know," explained Mac, looking very guilty.
Rose could not quite understand the change she saw in him till his
last words suggested a cause which she knew by experience was
apt to inspire young men. Leaning forward again, she asked
solemnly, though her eyes danced with fun, "Mac, are you in
"Do I look like it?" And he sat up with such an injured and
indignant face that she apologized at once, for he certainly did not
look loverlike with hayseed in his hair, several lively crickets
playing leapfrog over his back, and a pair of long legs stretching
from tree to haycock.
"No, you don't, and I humbly beg your pardon for making such an
unwarrantable insinuation. It merely occurred to me that the
general upliftedness I observe in you might be owing to that, since
it wasn't poetry."
"It is the good company I've been keeping, if anything. A fellow
can't spend 'A Week' with Thoreau and not be the better for it. I'm
glad I show it, because in the scramble life is to most of us, even
an hour with such a sane, simple, and sagacious soul as his must
help one," said Mac, taking a much worn book out of his pocket
with the air of introducing a dear and honored friend.
"I've read bits, and like them they are so original and fresh and
sometimes droll," said Rose, smiling to see what natural and
appropriate marks of approbation the elements seemed to set upon
the pages Mac was turning eagerly, for one had evidently been
rained on, a crushed berry stained another, some appreciative
field-mouse or squirrel had nibbled one corner, and the cover was
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