“Pooh! I don’t believe it will ever hurt me,” said Ralph.
“I think it will,” said Arthur; “you have not yet attained your growth, and therefore are the more certain to be injured by its use.
“Max, my boy, I admire your father greatly, particularly his magnificent physique.”
Max flushed with pleasure.
“Do you not wish to be like him in that? as tall and finely developed?”
“Yes, sir; yes, indeed! I want to be like papa in everything!”
“Then eschew tobacco, for it will stunt your growth!”
“But papa smokes,” repeated Max.
“Now, but probably he did not until grown,” said Arthur. “And very likely he sometimes wishes he had never contracted the habit. Now I must leave you for a time, as I have some other patients to visit.”
“I told you he was an old fogy,” said Ralph, as the door closed on his brother, adding with an oath, “I believe he wouldn’t allow a fellow a bit of pleasure if he could help it.”
Max started, and looked at Ralph with troubled eyes. “I didn’t think you would swear,” he said. “If you do, I—I can’t be intimate with you, because my father won’t allow it.”
“I don’t often,” said Ralph, looking ashamed, “I won’t again in your company.”
“Be sure your sin will find
Gracie and Walter were in the play-room. They had been building block-houses for an hour or more, when Gracie, saying, “I’m tired, Walter, I’m going in yonder to see the things Max and Lulu are making,” rose and sauntered into the work-room.
She watched the busy carvers for some minutes, then went down to Violet’s apartments in search of her.
She found no one there but Agnes busied in putting away some clean clothes, fresh from the iron.
“Where’s mamma?” asked the little girl.
“In de drawin’-room, Miss Gracie. Comp’ny dar.”
“Oh, dear!” sighed Gracie, “I just wanted her to talk to me.”
“’Spect you hab to wait till de comp’ny am gone,” returned Agnes, picking up her empty clothes-basket and leaving the room.
Gracie wandered disconsolately about the rooms, wishing that the callers would go and mamma come up. Presently she paused before the bureau in Violet’s dressing-room, and began fingering the pretty things on it.
She was not usually a meddlesome child, but just now was tempted to mischief from the lack of something else to interest and employ her.
She handled the articles carefully, however, and did them no damage till she came to a beautiful cut-glass bottle filled with a costly perfume of which she was extravagantly fond.
Violet had frequently given her a few drops on her handkerchief without being asked, and never refused a request for it.
Gracie, seized with a desire for it, took a clean handkerchief from a drawer and helped herself, saying half aloud, by way of quieting her conscience, “Mamma would give it to me if she was here, she always does, and I’ll be careful not to break the bottle.”