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"If I disturb you, say so, and I'll go away," she began, pausing on
the threshold with modest hesitation, for something in the elder
boys' faces excited her curiosity.
"You never disturb us, cousin," said the smokers, while the readers
tore themselves from the heroes of the bar-room and gutter long
enough to nod affably to their guest.
As Rose bent to warm her hands, one end of Archie's cigar stuck
out of the ashes, smoking furiously and smelling strongly.
"Oh, you bad boys, how could you do it, to-day of all days?" she
"Where's the harm?" asked Archie.
"You know as well as I do; your mother doesn't like it, and it's a
bad habit, for it wastes money and does you no good."
"Fiddlesticks! every man smokes, even Uncle Alec, whom you
think so perfect," began Charlie, in his teasing way.
"No, he doesn't! He has given it up, and I know why," cried Rose
"Now I think of it, I haven't seen the old meerschaum since he
came home. Did he stop it on our account?" asked Archie.
"Yes," and Rose told the little scene on the seashore in the
Archie seemed much impressed, and said manfully, "He won't
have done that in vain so far as I'm concerned. I don't care a pin
about smoking, so can give it up as easy as not, and I promise you I
will. I only do it now and then for fun."
"You too?" and Rose looked up at the bonny Prince, who never
looked less bonny than at that moment, for he had resumed his
cigar just to torment her.
Now Charlie cared as little as Archie about smoking, but it would
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