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The Mistletoe Bough

The Mistletoe Bough
"Let the boys have it if they like it," said Mrs. Garrow, pleading to her only daughter on
behalf of her two sons.
"Pray don't, mamma," said Elizabeth Garrow. "It only means romping. To me all that is
detestable, and I am sure it is not the sort of thing that Miss Holmes would like."
"We always had it at Christmas when we were young."
"But, mamma, the world is so changed."
The point in dispute was one very delicate in its nature, hardly to be discussed in all its
bearings, even in fiction, and the very mention of which between mother and daughter
showed a great amount of close confidence between them. It was no less than this.
Should that branch of mistletoe which Frank Garrow had brought home with him out of
the Lowther woods be hung up on Christmas Eve in the dining-room at Thwaite Hall,
according to his wishes; or should permission for such hanging be positively refused? It
was clearly a thing not to be done after such a discussion, and therefore the decision
given by Mrs. Garrow was against it.
I am inclined to think that Miss Garrow was right in saying that the world is changed as
touching mistletoe boughs. Kissing, I fear, is less innocent now than it used to be when
our grand-mothers were alive, and we have become more fastidious in our amusements.
Nevertheless, I think that she made herself fairly open to the raillery with which her
brothers attacked her.
"Honi soit qui mal y pense," said Frank, who was eighteen.
"Nobody will want to kiss you, my lady Fineairs," said Harry, who was just a year
younger.
"Because you choose to be a Puritan, there are to be no more cakes and ale in the house,"
said Frank.
"Still waters run deep; we all know that," said Harry.
The boys had not been present when the matter was decided between Mrs. Garrow and
her daughter, nor had the mother been present when these little amenities had passed
between the brothers and sister.
"Only that mamma has said it, and I wouldn't seem to go against her," said Frank, "I'd ask
my father. He wouldn't give way to such nonsense, I know."
Elizabeth turned away without answering, and left the room. Her eyes were full of tears,
but she would not let them see that they had vexed her. They were only two days home
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