“Perhaps she wouldn’t like to do that sort of thing.”
“What sort of thing? What’s wrong with it?” Dicky asked belligerently. “Oh, you mean figure posing! She wouldn’t have to do that at all if she didn’t want to. Plenty of good nudes. It’s the intangible, high-bred look and ability to wear clothes well that’s hard to get.”
We had walked past the unpainted little shack that but for the word “Marvin” in large letters painted across one end of it would never have been taken for a railroad station. Without looking where we were going we found ourselves in front of an immense poster on a large board back of the station. The letters upon it were visible yards away.
“Marvin,” it read, “the prettiest, quaintest village on the south shore. Please don’t judge the town by the station.”
He took my arm and turned me away from the billboard toward a wide, dusty road winding away from the station to the eastward.
“But, Dicky,” I protested. “I thought you wanted to see about securing that girl as a model.”
“Oh, that can wait,” said Dicky carelessly.
My heart sang as I slipped my arm in Dicky’s. It was going to be an enjoyable day after all.
“Grace by name and grace by nature”
“What’s the matter, Madge? Got a grouch or something?”
Dicky faced me in the old hall of the deserted Putnam Manor Inn, where we had expected to find warmth and food and the picturesqueness of a century back. Instead of these things we had found the place in the hands of a caretaker. Dicky had asked to go through the house on the pretence of wishing to rent it.
“I haven’t a bit of a grouch.” I tried to speak as cheerfully as I could, for I dreaded Dicky’s anger when I told him my feeling upon the subject of going over the house under false pretences. “But I don’t think it is right for us to go through the rooms. The woman wouldn’t have let us come in if you hadn’t said we wished to rent it. It’s deception, and I wish you wouldn’t insist upon my going any further. I can’t enjoy seeing the rooms at all.”
Dicky stared at me for a moment as if I were some specimen of humanity he had never seen before. Then he exploded.
“Another one of your scruples, eh? By Jove, I wonder where you keep them all. You’re always ready to trot one out just in time to spoil any little thing I’m trying to do for your pleasure or mine.”
“Please hush, Dicky,” I pleaded. I was afraid the woman in the next room would hear him, he spoke in such loud tones.
“I’ll hush when I get good and ready.” I longed to shake him, his tone and words were so much like those of a spoiled child. But he lowered his tone, nevertheless, and stood for a minute or two in sulky silence before the empty fireplace.
“Well! Come along,” he said at last. “I’m sure there is no pleasure to me in looking over this place. I’ve seen it often enough when old Forsman had it filled with colonial junk, and served the best meals to be found on Long Island. It’s like a coffin now to me. But I thought you might like to look it over, as you had never seen it. But for heaven’s sake let us respect your scruples!”