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Rose in Bloom

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 his own and his cousin's prospects with perfect
equanimity.
"His worth shines forth the brightest who in hope Always confides: the Abject soul
despairs,"
observed Mac, quoting Euripides in a conversational tone as he lay upon a divan
reposing after a hard day's work.
"Thank you," said Archie, brightening a little, for a hopeful word from any source
was very comfortable.
"That's your favorite Rip, isn't it? He was a wise old boy, but you could find
advice as good as that nearer home," put in Steve, who just then felt equal to
slapping Plato on the shoulder, so elated was he at being engaged "first of all the
lot," as he gracefully expressed it.
"Don't halloo till you are out of the wood, Dandy Mrs. Kit has jilted two men, and
may a third, so you'd better not brag of your wisdom too soon, for she may make
 
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