“No,” Belle replied honestly. “But I’d like to get a closer look at Dan’s latest.”
So Dave led his sweetheart into Wiegard’s. In order to get a seat at a table it was necessary to pass the table at which Dan and his handsome friend were seated. As Dalzell’s back was toward the door he did not espy his friends until they were about to pass.
“Why, hello, Darry!” cried Dan, rising eagerly, though his cheeks flushed a bit. “How do you do, Miss Meade? Miss Henshaw, may I present my friends? Miss Meade and Mr. Darrin.”
The introduction was pleasantly acknowledged all around. Miss Henshaw proved wholly well-bred and at ease.
“Won’t you join us here?” asked Dalzell, trying hard to conceal the fact that he didn’t want any third and fourth parties.
“I know you’ll excuse us,” answered Dave, bowing, “and I feel certain that I am running counter to Miss Meade’s wishes. But I have so little opportunity to talk to her that I’m going to beg you to excuse us. I’m going to be selfish and entice Miss Meade away to the furthest corner.”
That other table was so far away that Dave and Belle could converse in low tones without the least danger of being overheard. There were, at that time, no other patrons in the place.
“Well, Belle, what do you think of the lady, now that you’ve seen her?”
“You’ve named her,” replied Belle quietly. “Dan’s new friend is beyond any doubt a lady.”
“Then Dan is safe, at last.”
“I’m not so sure of that,” Belle answered.
“But, if she’s really a lady, she must be safe company for Dan.”
Belle smiled queerly before she responded:
“I’m afraid Dan is in for a tremendous disappointment.”
“In the lady’s character?” pressed Darrin.
“Oh, indeed, no.”
“Wait and see.”
“But I’d rather know now.”
“I’ll tell you what I mean before you say good-bye this afternoon,” Belle promised.
“By Jove, but I am afraid that is going to be too late,” murmured Midshipman Darrin. “Unless I’m greatly misled as to the meaning of the light that has suddenly come into Danny’s eyes, he’s proposing to her now!”
“Oh!” gasped Belle, and the small spoonful of cream that was passing down her throat threatened to strangle her.
“Dave, how old do you think Miss Henshaw is?” asked Miss Meade, as soon as she could trust herself to speak.
“Twenty, I suppose.”
“You don’t know much about women’s ages, then, do you?” smiled Belle.
“I don’t suppose I’ve any business to know.”
“Miss Henshaw is a good many years older than Dan.”
“She doesn’t look it,” urged Dave.
“But she is. Trust another woman to know!”
“There, by Jove!” whispered Dave. “It has started. Danny is running under the wire! I can tell by his face that he has just started to propose.”