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Chapter 6 POLISHING MAC
"Please could I say one word?" was the question three times
repeated before a rough head bobbed out from the grotto of books
in which Mac usually sat when he studied.
"Did anyone speak?" he asked, blinking in the flood of sunshine
that entered with Rose.
"Only three times, thank you. Don't disturb yourself, I beg, for I
merely want to say a word," answered Rose as she prevented him
from offering the easy chair in which he sat.
"I was rather deep in a compound fracture and didn't hear. What
can I do for you, Cousin?" And Mac shoved a stack of pamphlets
off the chair near him with a hospitable wave of the hand that sent
his papers flying in all directions.
Rose sat down, but did not seem to find her "word" an easy one to
utter, for she twisted her handkerchief about her fingers in
embarrassed silence till Mac put on his glasses and, after a keen
look, asked soberly: "Is it a splinter, a cut, or a whitlow, ma'am?"
"It is neither. Do forget your tiresome surgery for a minute and be
the kindest cousin that ever was," answered Rose, beginning rather
sharply and ending with her most engaging smile.
"Can't promise in the dark," said the wary youth.
"It is a favor, a great favor, and one I don't choose to ask any of the
other boys," answered the artful damsel.
Mac looked pleased and leaned forward, saying more affably,
"Name it, and be sure I'll grant it if I can."
"Go with me to Mrs. Hope's party tomorrow night."
"What!" And Mac recoiled as if she had put a pistol to his head.
"I've left you in peace a long time, but it is your turn now, so do
your duty like a man and a cousin."
"But I never go to parties!" cried the unhappy victim in great
"High time you began, sir."
"But I don't dance fit to be seen."
"I'll teach you."
"My dress coat isn't decent, I know."
"Archie will lend you one he isn't going."
"I'm afraid there's a lecture that I ought not to cut."
"No, there isn't I asked Uncle."
"I'm always so tired and dull in the evening."
"This sort of thing is just what you want to rest and freshen up your
Mac gave a groan and fell back vanquished, for it was evident that
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