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Chapter 22 SHORT AND SWEET
In the hall she found Steve and Kitty, for he had hidden his little
sweetheart behind the big couch, feeling that she had a right there,
having supported his spirits during the late anxiety with great
constancy and courage. They seemed so cozy, billing and cooing in
the shadow of the gay vase, that Rose would have slipped silently
away if they had not seen and called to her.
"He's not gone I guess you'll find him in the parlor," said Steve,
divining with a lover's instinct the meaning of the quick look she
had cast at the hat rack as she shut the study door behind her.
"Mercy, no! Archie and Phebe are there, so he'd have the sense to
pop into the sanctum and wait, unless you'd like me to go and
bring him out?" added Kitty, smoothing Rose's ruffled hair and
settling the flowers on the bosom where Uncle Alec's head had lain
until he fell asleep.
"No, thank you, I'll go to him when I've seen my Phebe. She won't
mind me," answered Rose, moving on to the parlor.
"Look here," called Steve, "do advise them to hurry up and all be
married at once. We were just ready when Uncle fell ill, and now
we cannot wait a day later than the first of May."
"Rather short notice," laughed Rose, looking back with the
doorknob in her hand.
"We'll give up all our splendor, and do it as simply as you like, if
you will only come too. Think how lovely! Three weddings at
once! Do fly round and settle things there's a dear," implored Kitty,
whose imagination was fired with this romantic idea.
"How can I, when I have no bridegroom yet?" began Rose, with
conscious color in her telltale face.
"Sly creature! You know you've only got to say a word and have a
famous one. Una and her lion will be nothing to it," cried Steve,
bent on hastening his brother's affair, which was much too dilatory
and peculiar for his taste.
"He has been in no haste to come home, and I am in no haste to
leave it. Don't wait for me, 'Mr. and Mrs. Harry Walmers, Jr.,' I
shall be a year at least making up my mind, so you may lead off as
splendidly as you like and I'll profit by your experience." And Rose
vanished into the parlor, leaving Steve to groan over the perversity
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