Page:Aunt Jo's Scrap-Bag, Volume 2.djvu/206

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SHAWL-STRAPS.

well make up your minds to it, girls. I cannot bear this awful responsibility any longer; for I am very sure you will both be off to Turin with those handsome rascals if we stay much longer. My mind is made up, and I won't hear a word."

Thus Lavinia, with a stern countenance; for the romantic old lady felt the charm as much as the girls did, and decided that discretion was the better part of valor for the whole party.

"I should never dare to go home and tell my honored parents that Mat had run away with a man as handsome as Jove, and as poor as Job. Amanda's indignant relatives would rise up and stone me if I let her canter into matrimony with the fascinating Colonel, who may have a wife and ten children in Turin, for all we know. They must be torn away at once, or my character as duenna is lost for ever."

Having made up her mind, Livy steeled her heart to all appeals, and wrote letters, packed trunks, and watched her little flock like a vigilant sheep dog.

How she would ever have got them through that last week is very uncertain, if a providential picnic had not helped her.