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loafing about the long hall, and paused on the half-way landing to
take an observation, for till now she had not really examined her
There was a strong family resemblance among them, though some
of the yellow heads were darker than others, some of the cheeks
brown instead of rosy, and the ages varied all the way from
sixteen-year-old Archie to Jamie, who was ten years younger.
None of them were especially comely but the Prince, yet all were
hearty, happy-looking lads, and Rose decided that boys were not as
dreadful as she had expected to find them.
They were all so characteristically employed that she could not
help smiling as she looked. Archie and Charlie, evidently great
cronies, were pacing up and down, shoulder to shoulder, whistling
"Bonnie Dundee"; Mac was reading in a corner, with his book
close to his near-sighted eyes; Dandy was arranging his hair before
the oval glass in the hat-stand; Geordie and Will investigating the
internal economy of the moon-faced clock; and Jamie lay kicking
up his heels on the mat at the foot of the stairs, bent on demanding
his sweeties the instant Rose appeared.
She guessed his intention, and forestalled his demand by dropping
a handful of sugar-plums down upon him.
At his cry of rapture the other lads looked up and smiled
involuntarily, for the little kinswoman standing there above was a
winsome sight with her shy, soft eyes, bright hair, and laughing
face. The black frock reminded them of her loss, and filled the
boyish hearts with a kindly desire to be good to "our cousin," who
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