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CHAPTER 20. ROUND THE FIRE (continued)
The hearth was swept, and the rosy Baldwins put down to roast. A shovel was heated, and the chestnuts danced merrily upon it, while the corn popped wildly in its wire prison. Dan cracked his best walnuts, and every one chattered and laughed, while the rain beat on the window-pane and the wind howled round the house.
"Why is Billy like this nut?" asked Emil, who was frequently inspired with bad conundrums.
"Because he is cracked," answered Ned.
"That's not fair; you mustn't make fun of Billy, because he can't hit back again. It's mean," cried Dan, smashing a nut wrathfully.
"To what family of insects does Blake belong?" asked peacemaker Franz, seeing that Emil looked ashamed and Dan lowering.
"Gnats," answered Jack.
"Why is Daisy like a bee?" cried Nat, who had been wrapt in thought for several minutes.
"Because she is queen of the hive," said Dan.
"Because she is sweet."
"Bees are not sweet."
"Give it up."
"Because she makes sweet things, is always busy, and likes flowers," said Nat, piling up his boyish compliments till Daisy blushed like a rosy clover.
"Why is Nan like a hornet?" demanded Tommy, glowering at her, and adding, without giving any one time to answer, "Because she isn't sweet, makes a great buzzing about nothing, and stings like fury."
"Tommy's mad, and I'm glad," cried Ned, as Nan tossed her head and answered quickly
"What thing in the china-closet is Tom like?"
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