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escape was impossible.
"What put such a perfectly wild idea into your head?" he
demanded, rather roughly, for hitherto he had been left in peace
and this sudden attack decidedly amazed him.
"Sheer necessity, but don't do it if it is so very dreadful to you. I
must go to several more parties, because they are made for me, but
after that I'll refuse, and then no one need be troubled with me."
Something in Rose's voice made Mac answer penitently, even
while he knit his brows in perplexity. "I don't mean to be rude, and
of course I'll go anywhere if I'm really needed. But I don't
understand where the sudden necessity is, with three other fellows
at command, all better dancers and beaus than I am."
"I don't want them, and I do want you, for I haven't the heart to
drag Uncle out anymore, and you know I never go with any
gentleman but those of my own family."
"Now look here, Rose if Steve has been doing anything to tease
you, just mention it and I'll attend to him," cried Mac, plainly
seeing that something was amiss and fancying that Dandy was at
the bottom of it, as he had done escort duty several times lately.
"No, Steve has been very good, but I know he had rather be with
Kitty Van, so of course I feel like a marplot, though he is too polite
to hint it."
"What a noodle that boy is! But there's Archie he's steady as a
church and has no sweetheart to interfere," continued Mac, bound
to get at the truth and half suspecting what it was.
"He is on his feet all day, and Aunt Jessie wants him in the
evening. He does not care for dancing as he used, and I suppose he
really does prefer to rest and read." Rose might have added, "And
hear Phebe sing," for Phebe did not go out as much as Rose did,
and Aunt Jessie often came to sit with the old lady when the young
folks were away and, of course, dutiful Archie came with her, so
willingly of late!
"What's amiss with Charlie? I thought he was the prince of
cavaliers. Annabel says he dances 'like an angel,' and I know a
dozen mothers couldn't keep him at home of an evening. Have you
had a tiff with Adonis and so fall back on poor me?" asked Mac,
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