Steve, I want you to tell me something, said Rose to Dandy, who was making faces at himself in the glass, while he waited for an answer to the note he brought from his mother to Aunt Plenty.
Praps I will, and praps I wont. What is it?
Havent Arch and Charlie quarrelled?
Dare say; we fellows are always having little rows, you know. I do believe a sty is coming on my star- board eye, and Steve affected to be absorbed in a survey of his yellow lashes.
No, that wont do; I want to know all about it; for Im sure something more serious than a little row is the matter. Come, please tell me, Stenie, theres a dear.
Botheration! you dont want me to turn telltale, do you? growled Steve, pulling his top-knot, as he always did when perplexed.
Yes, I do, was Roses decided answerfor she saw from his manner that she was right, and determined to have the secret out of him if coaxing would do it. I dont wish you to tell things to everyone, of course, but to me you may, and you must, because I have a right to know. You boys need somebody to look after you, and Im going to do it, for girls are nice peacemakers, and know how to manage people. Uncle said so, and he is never wrong.
Steve was about to indulge in a derisive hoot at the idea of her looking after them, but a sudden thought restrained him, and suggested a way in which he could satisfy Rose, and better himself at the same time.
What will you give me if Ill tell you every bit about it? he asked, with a sudden red in his cheeks and an uneasy look in his eyes, for he was half ashamed of the proposition.
What do you want? and Rose looked up rather surprised at his question.
Id like to borrow some money. I shouldnt think of asking you, only Mac never has a cent. since hes set up his old chemical shop, where hell blow himself to bits some day, and you and uncle will have the fun of putting him together again, and Steve tried to look as if the idea amused him.
Ill lend it to you with pleasure, so tell away, said Rose, bound to get at the secret.
Evidently much relieved by the promise, Steve set his top-knot cheerfully erect again, and briefly stated the case.
As you say, its all right to tell you, but dont let the boys know I blabbed, or Prince will take my head off. You see, Archie dont like some of the fellows Charlie goes with, and cuts em. That makes Prince mad, and he holds on just to plague Arch, so they dont speak to one another, if they can help it, and thats the row.
Are those boys bad? asked Rose, anxiously.
Guess not, only rather wild. They are older than our fellows, but they like Prince, hes such a jolly boy; sings so well, dances jigs and breakdowns, you know, and plays any game thats going. He beat Morse at billiards, and thats something to brag of, for Morse thinks he knows everything. I saw the match, and it was great fun!
Steve got quite excited over the prowess of Charlie, whom he admired immensely, and tried to imitate. Rose did not know half the danger of such gifts and tastes as Charlies, but felt instinctively that something must be wrong if Archie disapproved.
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