“I’ve been thinking that perhaps I ought to, though I am in the right. I’m no end fond of Charlie, and he’s the best-hearted lad alive; but he can’t say No, and that will play the mischief with him, if he does not take care,” said Archie in his grave, kind way.

“While father was home, I was very busy with him, so Prince got into a set I don’t like. They try to be fast, and think it’s manly, and they flatter him, and lead him on to do all sorts of things—play for money, and bet, and loaf about. I hate to have him do so, and tried to stop it, but went to work the wrong way, so we got into a mess.”

“He is all ready to make up if you don’t say much, for he owned to me he was wrong; but I don’t think he will own it to you, in words,” began Rose.

“I don’t care for that; if he’ll just drop those row-dies and come back, I’ll hold my tongue and not preach. I wonder if he owes those fellows money, and so doesn’t like to break off till he can pay it. I hope not, but don’t dare to ask; though, perhaps, Steve knows, he’s always after Prince, more’s the pity,” and Archie looked anxious.

“I think Steve does know, for he talked about debts of honour the day I gave him—” There Rose stopped short and turned scarlet.

But Archie ordered her to “fess,” and had the whole story in five minutes, for none dared disobey the Chief. He completed her affliction by putting a five-dollar bill into her pocket by main force, looking both indignant and resolute as he said—

“Never do so again; but send Steve to me, if he is afraid to go to his father. Charlie had nothing to do with that; he wouldn’t borrow a penny of a girl, don’t think it. But that’s the harm he does Steve, who adores him, and tries to be like him in all things. Don’t say a word; I’ll make it all right, and no one shall blame you.”

“Oh me! I always make trouble by trying to help, and then letting out the wrong thing,” sighed Rose, much depressed by her slip of the tongue.

Archie comforted her with the novel remark that it was always best to tell the truth, and made her quite cheerful by promising to heal the breach with Charlie as soon as possible.

He kept his word so well that the very next afternoon, as Rose looked out of the window, she beheld the joyful spectacle of Archie and Prince coming up the avenue, arm-in-arm, as of old, talking away as if to make up for the unhappy silence of the past weeks.

Rose dropped her work, hurried to the door, and, opening it wide, stood there smiling down upon them so happily, that the faces of the lads brightened as they ran up the steps eager to show that all was well with them.

“Here’s our little peace-maker!” said Archie, shaking hands with vigour.

But Charlie added, with a look that made Rose very proud and happy, “And my little sister.”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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