It was a rainy Sunday afternoon, and four boys were trying to spend it quietly in the liberry, as Jamie called the room devoted to books and boys, at Aunt Jessies. Will and Geordie were sprawling on the sofa, deep in the adventures of the scapegraces and ragamuffins whose histories are now the fashion. Archie lounged in the easy chair, surrounded by newspapers; Charlie stood upon the rug, in an Englishmans favourite attitude, and, I regret to say, both were smoking cigars.
It is my opinion that this day will never come to an end, said Prince, with a yawn that nearly rent him asunder.
Read and improve your mind, my son, answered Archie, peering solemnly over the paper behind which he had been dozing.
Dont you preach, parson, but put on your boots and come out for a tramp, instead of mulling over the fire like a granny.
No, thank you, tramps in an easterly storm dont strike me as amusing. There Archie stopped and held up his hand, for a pleasant voice was heard saying outside
Are the boys in the library, auntie?
Yes, dear, and longing for sunshine; so run in and make it for them, answered Mrs. Jessie.
Its Rose, and Archie threw his cigar into the fire.
Whats that for? asked Charlie.
Gentlemen dont smoke before ladies.
True; but Im not going to waste my weed, and Prince poked his into the empty inkstand that served them for an ash tray.
A gentle tap at the door was answered by a chorus of Come in, and Rose appeared, looking blooming and breezy with the chilly air.
If I disturb you, say so, and Ill go away, she began, pausing on the threshold with modest hesitation, for something in the elder boys faces excited her curiosity.
You never disturb us, cousin, said the smokers, while the readers tore themselves from the heroes of the bar-room and gutter long enough to nod affably to their guest.
As Rose bent to warm her hands, one end of Archies cigar stuck out of the ashes, smoking furiously and smelling strongly.
Oh, you bad boys, how could you do it, to-day of all days? she said reproachfully.
Wheres the harm? asked Archie.
You know as well as I do; your mother doesnt like it, and its a bad habit, for it wastes money and does you no good.
Fiddlesticks! every man smokes, even Uncle Alec, whom you think so perfect, began Charlie, in his teasing way.
No, he doesnt! He has given it up, and I know why, cried Rose eagerly.
Now I think of it, I havent seen the old meerschaum since he came home. Did he stop it on our account? asked Archie.
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