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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."
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