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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 420 pages of information about The Iron Game.

“Not to you.”

“You cost me enough to be dear and you are lovely enough to be ‘Rosa’ in Latin, Rose in English, and sweetheart in any tongue.”

“You’re much too pert.  Boys so glib as you never really love.  They think they do and perhaps they do—­just a little.”

“Ah! a ‘little more than a little,’ dear Rosa.”

“You’re quoting Shakespeare, I suppose you know?  I’ll quote more:  ’A little more than a little is much too much.’”

“A little less than all is much too little for me.  So, Rosa, give all or none.”

“I don’t understand you.”

“That’s proof you love me.  Girls never love fellows they understand.”

“Prove that I love you.”

“Well, you don’t hate me.  You don’t hate Vincent.  Therefore you love him.  Ergo, you love me.”

“Simpleton.”

“True love is always simple.  Here, take this white rose as a sign that you don’t hate me.”  He plucked a large half-opened bud from a great sprouting branch and held it toward her.

“But the red rose is my favorite.”

“Well, here is a red one.  Give me the white.  That is my favorite.  Now we’ve exchanged tokens.  The rose always goes before the ring.  I’ll get that.”

“If you were a true lover you would wear my colors.”

“These white leaves will grow red resting on my heart.”

“When they do I will listen to you.”

“Will you, though?  It is a promise; when this white rose is red you will love me?”

“Oh, yes, I can promise that.”

“Dear Rosa!” He was very near her as she disentangled an obtruding vine from her garments, and before she was aware of his purpose he had audaciously snatched a kiss from her astonished lips.

“You odious Yankee!  I haven’t words to express my disgust—­abhorrence!”

“Don’t try, love needs no words:  but I’ll tell you; let me put this white rose to your lips; it will turn red at the touch, and in that way you can take your kiss back, if you really want it; then there’ll be a fair exchange.  I—­”

“Hello, there! are you two grafting roses?”

It was Wesley, coming from the lower garden, where the stream was narrowest beyond the high wall of hedge.

“Oh, no, Mr. Boone; Richard here is studying the color in flowers.  He has a theory that eclipses Goethe’s ‘Farbenlehre.’”

“Oh, indeed!” Wesley was quite unconscious of what Goethe’s doctrine of colors might be, so he prudently avoided urging fuller particulars regarding Dick’s theory, and said, vaguely;

“You have color enough here to theorize on, I’m sure.”

“Yes, we have had very satisfactory experiments,” Dick assented naively, stealing a glance at Rosa.

“But quite inconclusive,” she rejoined, moving onward, the two young men following in the penumbra of her wide hat.

CHAPTER XVIII.

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