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Charlie, while Rose slipped away to her aunt, and Archie buried
both cigars behind the back log.
When the mystery was explained, the elders were well pleased,
and Rose received a vote of thanks, which made her feel as if she
had done a service to her country, as she had, for every boy who
grows up free from bad habits bids fair to make a good citizen.
"I wish Rose would drive a bargain with Will and Geordie also, for
I think these books are as bad for the small boys as cigars for the
large ones," said Mrs. Jessie, sitting down on the sofa between the
readers, who politely curled up their legs to make room for her.
"I thought they were all the fashion," answered Dr. Alec, settling in
the big chair with Rose.
"So is smoking, but it is harmful. The writers of these popular
stories intend to do good, I have no doubt, but it seems to me they
fail because their motto is, 'Be smart, and you will be rich,' instead
of 'Be honest, and you will be happy.' I do not judge hastily, Alec,
for I have read a dozen, at least, of these stories, and, with much
that is attractive to boys, I find a great deal to condemn in them,
and other parents say the same when I ask them."
"Now, Mum, that's too bad! I like 'em tip-top. This one is a regular
screamer," cried Will.
"They're bully books, and I'd like to know where's the harm,"
"You have just shown us one of the chief evils, and that is slang,"
answered their mother quickly.
"Must have it, ma'am. If these chaps talked all right, there'd be no
fun in 'em," protested Will.
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