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his proudly swelling chest an heart-shaped red flannel shield
decorated with a white cotton star the size of a tea plate.
"Superb! I've been away so long I forgot there was such a game.
And you the captain?" cried Rose, deeply impressed by the high
honor to which her kinsman had arrived.
"I just am, and it's no joke you'd better believe, for we knock our
teeth out, black our eyes, and split our fingers almost as well as the
big fellows. You come down to the Common between one and two
and see us play a match, then you'll understand what hard work it
is. I'll teach you to bat now if you'll come out on the lawn," added
Jamie, fired with a wish to exhibit his prowess.
"No, thank you, captain. The grass is wet, and you'll be late at
school if you stay for us."
"I'm not afraid. Girls are not good for much generally, but you
never used to mind a little wet and played cricket like a good one.
Can't you ever do that sort of thing now?" asked the boy, with a
pitying look at these hapless creatures debarred from the joys and
perils of manly sports.
"I can run still and I'll get to the gate before you, see if I don't."
And, yielding to the impulse of the moment, Rose darted down the
steps before astonished Jamie could mount and follow.
He was off in a moment, but Rose had the start, and though old
Sheltie did his best, she reached the goal just ahead, and stood
there laughing and panting, all rosy with fresh October air, a pretty
picture for several gentlemen who were driving by.
"Good for you, Rose!" said Archie, jumping out to shake hands
while Will and Geordie saluted and Uncle Mac laughed at Jamie,
who looked as if girls had risen slightly in his opinion.
"I'm glad it is you, because you won't be shocked. But I'm so happy
to be back I forgot I was not little Rose still," said Atalanta,
smoothing down her flying hair.
"You look very like her, with the curls on your shoulders in the old
way. I missed them last night and wondered what it was. How are
Uncle and Phebe?" asked Archie, whose eyes had been looking
over Rose's head while he spoke toward the piazza, where a female
figure was visible among the reddening woodbines.
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