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Chapter 11 SMALL TEMPTATIONS
"Oh, Rose, I've got something so exciting to tell you!" cried Kitty
Van Tassel, skipping into the carriage next morning when her
friend called for her to go shopping.
Kitty always did have some "perfectly thrilling" communication to
make and Rose had learned to take them quietly, but the next
demonstration was a new one, for, regardless alike of curious
observers outside and disordered hats within, Kitty caught Rose
around the neck, exclaiming in a rapturous whisper: "My dearest
creature, I'm engaged!"
"I'm so glad! Of course it is Steve?"
"Dear fellow, he did it last night in the nicest way, and Mama is so
delighted. Now what shall I be married in?" And Kitty composed
herself with a face full of the deepest anxiety.
"How can you talk of that so soon? Why, Kit, you unromantic girl,
you ought to be thinking of your lover and not your clothes," said
Rose, amused yet rather scandalized at such want of sentiment.
"I am thinking of my lover, for he says he will not have a long
engagement, so I must begin to think about the most important
things at once, mustn't I?"
"Ah, he wants to be sure of you, for you are such a slippery
creature he is afraid you'll treat him as you did poor Jackson and
the rest," interrupted Rose, shaking her finger at her prospective
cousin, who had tried this pastime twice before and was rather
proud than otherwise of her brief engagements.
"You needn't scold, for I know I'm right, and when you've been in
society as long as I have you'll find that the only way to really
know a man is to be engaged to him. While they want you they are
all devotion, but when they think they've got you, then you find out
what wretches they are," answered Kitty with an air of worldly
wisdom which contrasted oddly with her youthful face and giddy
"A sad prospect for poor Steve, unless I give him a hint to look
well to his ways."
"Oh, my dear child, I'm sure of him, for my experience has made
me very sharp and I'm convinced I can manage him without a bit
of trouble. We've known each other for ages" Steve was twenty
and Kitty eighteen "and always been the best of friends. Besides,
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