“I mean nothing so silly!” I answer, with lofty petulance. “I am a great deal too old for any such nonsense!”
“There I go with you,” says Algy, not without grandeur. “I believe that it is the greatest humbug out, and that it rarely occurs between the ages of sixteen and sixty.”
“Father’s and mother’s was a love-match,” says Bobby, gravely. “Did not Aunt Williams tell us that they used always to sit hand-in-hand before they were married?”
A shout of laughter at our parents’ expense greets this piece of information.
“All married people grow to hate one another after a bit,” say I, comprehensively; “it is only a question of time.”
“But if you do not love him now, and if you are sure that you will hate him by-and-by,” says Barbara, looking rather puzzled, “what makes you think of taking him?”
“It would be such a fine thing for all the family: I could give all the boys such a shove,” say I, with homely shrewdness.
“They killed seven hundred head of game on his big day last year; I heard him tell father so,” says Bobby, with his mouth watering.
“He has a moor in Scotland,” throws in the Brat.
“He must ride a stone heavier than I do,” says Algy, thoughtfully, “his horses would certainly carry me: I wonder would he give me a mount now and then?”
“I would have you all staying with me always,” I cry, warming with my theme, and beginning to dance, “all except father: he should come once a year for a week, if he was good, and not at all, if he was not.”
“What will you call him, Nancy?” asks the Brat, inquisitively. “What shall we call him?”
“He will be Tou Tou’s brother” cries Bobby, with a yell of delight.
“Hush!” says Barbara, apprehensively, “he will hear you.”
“No he will not,” I answer, composedly. “A person would have to bawl even louder than Bobby does, to make him hear: he has gone away for a week; he said he did not wish me to decide in a hurry: he has given me till this day week; I wish it were this day ten years—”
“This day week, then,” says Algy, walking about with his hands in his pockets, and smiling to himself, “we may hope to see him return in triumph in a blue frock-coat, with the ring and the parson: at that age one has no time to lose.”
“Haste to the wedding!” cries the Brat at the top of his voice, seizing me by both hands, and forcing me to execute an uncouth war-dance, in unwilling celebration of my approaching nuptials.
“I hope that there will be lots of almonds in the cake!” says Bobby, gluttonously.