“O my gracious! that great six-foot cadet!”
“It doesn’t matter about the feet. He’s barely eighteen. But he’s nice,—ever so nice.”
“It’s a case of Outledge, Leslie,” Dakie Thayne said, going down the hill. “They treat those girls—amphibiously!”
“Well,” returned Leslie, laughing, “I’m amphibious. I live in the town, and I can come out—and not die—on the Hill. I like it. I always thought that kind of animal had the nicest time.”
They met Alice Marchbanks with her cousin Maud, coming up.
“We’ve been to see the Holabirds,” said Dakie Thayne, right off.
“I wonder why that little Ruth didn’t come last night? We really wanted her,” said Alice to Leslie Goldthwaite.
“For batrachian reasons, I believe,” put in Dakie, full of fun. “She isn’t quite amphibious yet. She don’t come out from under water. That is, she’s young, and doesn’t go alone. She told me so.”
You needn’t keep asking how we know! Things that belong get together. People who tell a story see round corners.
The next morning Maud Marchbanks came over, and asked us all to play croquet and drink tea with them that evening, with the Goldthwaites and the Haddens.
“We’re growing very gay and multitudinous,” she said, graciously.
“The midshipman’s got home,—Harry Goldthwaite, you know.”
Ruth was glad, then, that mother knew; she had the girls’ pride in her own keeping; there was no responsibility of telling or withholding. But she was glad also that she had not gone last night.
When we went up stairs at bedtime, Rosamond asked Barbara the old, inevitable question,—
“What have you got to wear, Barb, to-morrow night,—that’s ready?”
And Barbara gave, in substance, the usual unperturbed answer, “Not a dud!”
But Mrs. Holabird kept a garnet and white striped silk skirt on purpose to lend to Barbara. If she had given it, there would have been the end. And among us there would generally be a muslin waist, and perhaps an overskirt. Barbara said our “overskirts” were skirts that were over with, before the new fashion came.
Barbara went to bed like a chicken, sure that in the big world to-morrow there would be something that she could pick up.
It was a miserable plan, perhaps; but it was one of our ways at Westover.
BETWIXT AND BETWEEN.
Three things came of the Marchbanks’s party for us Holabirds.
Mrs. Van Alstyne took a great fancy to Rosamond.
Harry Goldthwaite put a new idea into Barbara’s head.
And Ruth’s little undeveloped plans, which the facile fingers were to carry out, received a fresh and sudden impetus.
You have thus the three heads of the present chapter.
How could any one help taking a fancy to Rosamond Holabird? In the first place, as Mrs. Van Alstyne said, there was the name,—“a making for anybody”; for names do go a great way, notwithstanding Shakespeare.