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Charlie expected that Rose would say, "I won't!" therefore he was
rather astonished, not to say gratified, when, after a look at the
victim, she laughed suddenly, and, going up to the group of
gentlemen, drew her uncle Mac under the mistletoe and surprised
him with a hearty kiss.
"Thank you, my dear," said the innocent gentleman, looking much
pleased at the unexpected honour.
"Oh, come; that's not fair," began Charlie. But Rose cut him short
by saying, as she made him a fine courtesy
"You said 'Old Mac,' and though it was very disrespectful, I did it.
That was your last chance, sir, and you've lost it."
He certainly had, for, as he spoke, Rose pulled down the mistletoe
and threw it into the fire, while the boys jeered at the crestfallen
Prince, and exalted quick-witted Rose to the skies.
"What's the joke?" asked young Mac, waked out of a brown study
by the laughter, in which the elders joined.
But there was a regular shout when, the matter having been
explained to him, Mac took a meditative stare at Rose through his
goggles, and said in a philosophical tone, "Well, I don't think I
should have minded much if she had done it."
That tickled the lads immensely, and nothing but the appearance of
a slight refection would have induced them to stop chaffing the
poor Worm, who could not see anything funny in the beautiful
resignation he had shown on this trying occasion.
Soon after this, the discovery of Jamie curled up in the sofa corner,
as sound asleep as a dormouse, suggested the propriety of going
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