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Chapter 4. DAN (continued)
'I'll never desert Mrs Micawber,' interrupted Teddy, with a gurgling sob. Tom immediately rolled him off the step into the wet grass below; and by the time this slight skirmish was over, the jingle of teaspoons suggested refreshments of a more agreeable sort. In former times the little girls waited on the boys, to save confusion; now the young men flew to serve the ladies, young and old; and that slight fact showed plainly how the tables were turned by time. And what a pleasant arrangement it was! Even Josie sat still, and let Emil bring her berries; enjoying her young lady-hood, till Ted stole her cake, when she forgot manners, and chastised him with a rap on the knuckles. As guest of honour, Dan was only allowed to wait on Bess, who still held the highest place in this small world. Tom carefully selected the best of everything for Nan, to be crushed by the remark:
'I never eat at this hour; and you will have a nightmare if you do.'
So, dutifully curbing the pangs of hunger, he gave the plate to Daisy, and chewed rose-leaves for his supper.
When a surprising quantity of wholesome nourishment had been consumed, someone said, 'Let's sing!' and a tuneful hour followed. Nat fiddled, Demi piped, Dan strummed the old banjo, and Emil warbled a doleful ballad about the wreck of the Bounding Betsey; then everybody joined in the old songs till there was very decidedly 'music in the air'; and passers-by said, as they listened smiling: 'Old Plum is gay tonight!'
When all had gone Dan lingered on the piazza, enjoying the balmy wind that blew up from the hayfields, and brought the breath of flowers from Parnassus; and as he leaned there romantically in the moonlight, Mrs Jo came to shut the door.
'Dreaming dreams, Dan?' she asked, thinking the tender moment might have come. Imagine the shock when, instead of some interesting confidence or affectionate word, Dan swung round, saying bluntly:
'I was wishing I could smoke.'
Mrs Jo laughed at the downfall of her hopes, and answered kindly:
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