June 14, 2017

at least nobody but the chauffeur


He chuckled and thumped himself vigorously, as though to assure himself of the thoroughness of his recuperation. Seven o’clock found him on the street walking vigorously in the direction of the Park. He knew that there was no chance of meeting Jane Loring at this hour[256] of the morning, but he chose the west side that he might not even see the marble mass where she was sleeping, for the memory of what had happened there yesterday rankled like an angry wound.

"Yes, I’ve heard it,” he said grimly.


"Nina, do stop talking nonsense,” he put in impatiently. "I’m not going to sit here placidly and let them tell this lie.”

"Well,”—Nina leaned back in her chair and tilted[259] her head sideways—"what are you going to do about it?”

"I’ll make them answer to me—personally. It was my fault. I ought to have walked home, I suppose.”

"But you didn’t—that’s the rub. They won’t answer to you personally anyway, , and he might do it—er—unpleasantly.”

"I’ll thrash him—I’ll break his——”

"No, you won’t. It wouldn’t do the least bit of good, and besides it would make matters worse if he thrashed you. There’s only one thing left for you to do, my friend.”

"What?”

"Marry me!”

Phil Gallatin stopped pacing the floor and faced her, frowning.

"You still insist on that joke?”

"I do. And it’s no joke. It seems to be the least thing that you can do, under the circumstances.”

"Oh, is it?”

"Of course. You wouldn’t leave things as they are, would you? Think of my shrinking susceptibilities, the atrocious significance of your negligence. Really, Phil, I don’t see how you can refuse me!”

Gallatin laughed. He understood her now.

"I’m immensely flattered. I’ll marry you with great pleasure——”

"Oh, thanks.”

"If I ever decide to marry any one.”

"Phil!”

She glanced past him out of the window, smiling. "And you’re not going to marry—any one?”

"No.”

"I was afraid you might be.” She rose and took up[260] her silver bric-a-brac which clanked cheerfully. She had learned what she came for.

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