“Please don’t be clever. Be nice and tell me—”
“‘Be nice, sweet maid, and let who will be clever,’” declaimed the Bonnie Lassie, who was feeling perverse that day. “You want me to define his social status for you and tell you whether you’d better invite him to dinner. You’d better not. He might swallow his knife.”
“You know he wouldn’t!” denied the girl in resentful tones. “I’ve never known any one with more instinctive good manners. He seems to go right naturally.”
“All due to my influence and training,” bragged the Bonnie Lassie. “I helped bring him up.”
“Then you must know something of his antecedents.”
“Ask the Dominie. He says that Julien crawled out of a gutter with the manners of a preux chevalier. Anyway, he never swallowed any of my knives. Though he’s had plenty of opportunity.”
“It’s very puzzling,” lamented Bobbie.
“Why let it prey like a worm i’ the bud of your mind? You’re not going to adopt him, perhaps?”
For the moment Bobbie Holland’s eyes were dreamy and her tongue unguarded. “I don’t know what I’m going to do with him,” said she with a gesture as of one who despairingly gives over an insoluble problem.
“Umph!” said the Bonnie Lassie.
And continued sculpting.
As Julien had prophesied, it was only a question of time when he would be surprised by his patroness in his true garb and estate. The event occurred as he was stepping from his touring-car to get his golf-clubs from the hallway of his Gramercy Park apartment at the very moment when Bobbie Holland emerged from the house next door. Both her hands flew involuntarily to her cheeks, as she took in and wholly misinterpreted his costume, which is not to be wondered at when one considers the similarity of a golfing outfit to a chauffeur’s livery.
“Oh!” she cried out, as if something had hurt her.
Julien, for once startled out of his accustomed poise, uncovered and looked at her apprehensively.
Her voice quivered a little as she asked, very low, “Do you have to do that?”
“Why—er—no,” began the puzzled Julien, who failed for the moment to perceive what of tragic portent inhered in a prospective afternoon of golf. Her next words enlightened him.
“I should think you might have let me help before taking a—servant’s position.”
“It’s an honest occupation,” he averred.
“Do you do this—regularly?” she pursued with an effort.
“Off and on. There’s good money in it.”
“Oh!” she mourned again. Then: “You’re doing this so that you can afford to buy paints and canvas and—and things to paint me,” she accused. “It isn’t fair!”
“I’d do worse than this for that,” he declared valiantly.