sunset the tent was struck, hampers packed, wickets pulled up, boats loaded, and the whole party floated down the river, singing at the tops of their voices. Ned, getting sentimental, warbled a serenade with the pensive refrain, —
"Alone, alone, ah! woe, alone,"
and at the lines —
"We each are young, we each have a heart,
Oh, why should we stand thus coldly apart?"
he looked at Meg with such a lackadaisical expression, that she laughed outright, and spoilt his song.
"How can you be so cruel to me?" he whispered, under cover of a lively chorus; "you've kept close to that starched-up English woman all day, and now you snub me."
"I didn't mean to; but you looked so funny I really couldn't help it," replied Meg, passing over the first part of his reproach; for it was quite true that she had shunned him, remembering the Moffat party and the talk after it.
Ned was offended, and turned to Sallie for consolation, saying to her, rather pettishly, "There isn't a bit of flirt in that girl, is there?"
"Not a particle; but she's a dear," returned Sallie, defending her friend even while confessing her shortcomings.
"She's not a stricken deer, any-way," said Ned, trying to be witty, and succeeding as well as very young gentlemen usually do.