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and alone," said Rose, shrinking behind the big chair as Charlie
approached the fire, carefully avoiding a footstool in his way.
"Danger is exciting that's why I like it. No man ever called me a
coward let him try it once. I never give in and that horse shall not
conquer me. I'll break his neck, if he breaks my spirit doing it. No I
don't mean that never mind it's all right," and Charlie laughed in a
way that troubled her, because there was no mirth in it.
"Have you had a pleasant day?" asked Rose, looking at him
intently as he stood pondering over the cigar and match which he
held, as if doubtful which to strike and which to smoke.
"Day? Oh, yes, capital. About two thousand calls, and a nice little
supper at the Club. Randal can't sing any more than a crow, but I
left him with a glass of champagne upside down, trying to give
them my old favorite:
"'Tis better to laugh than be sighing,"
and Charlie burst forth in that bacchanalian melody at the top of
his voice, waving an allumette holder over his head to represent
Randal's inverted wineglass.
"Hush! You'll wake Aunty," cried Rose in a tone so commanding
that he broke off in the middle of a roulade to stare at her with a
blank look as he said apologetically, "I was merely showing how it
should be done. Don't be angry, dearest look at me as you did this
morning, and I'll swear never to sing another note if you say so. I'm
only a little gay we drank your health handsomely, and they all
congratulated me. Told 'em it wasn't out yet. Stop, though I didn't
mean to mention that. No matter I'm always in a scrape, but you
always forgive me in the sweetest way. Do it now, and don't be
angry, little darling." And, dropping the vase, he went toward her
with a sudden excitement that made her shrink behind the chair.
She was not angry, but shocked and frightened, for she knew now
what the matter was and grew so pale, he saw it and asked pardon
before she could utter a rebuke.
"We'll talk of that tomorrow. It is very late. Go home now, please,
before Uncle comes," she said, trying to speak naturally yet
betraying her distress by the tremor of her voice and the sad
anxiety in her eyes.
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