“You couldn’t have been a woman unless you had received a much better finishing polish before being sent to bless the earth, Phil, dear,” said that funny Mademoiselle Mildred Summers, and that Mr. Phillips Taylor returned the insult by lifting her off of her feet and gliding her halfway across the porch verandah in the beginning of one tango dance to the music that was again to be heard from the hall within the building.
“Mildred and Phil fight like aborigines, and their love for combat will lead to matrimony in their early youth if they are not reconciled to each other soon,” said lovely Sue as she fitted herself into my arms for our tango.
“After this dance with you will you lead me to that Madam Taylor, the friend of my father, beautiful Sue?” I asked of her. “It makes happy my heart to see one who loved him.” And as I spoke, the longing for my father that will ever be in my heart made a sadness in my voice and a dimness in my eyes.
“I think everybody loved him just as we are all beginning to—to like you, Bobby dear,” said that sweet girl as she smiled up at me in a way that sent the dimness in my eyes back to my heart.
“I am very grateful that you like me, lovely Sue,” I said with great humility. “I will endeavor to win and deserve more and more of that liking, until it is with me as if I had been born in a house near to yours, as is the case with my dear Buzz and also that funny Mildred.”
“I couldn’t like you any better, Bobby, if you had torn the hair off of my doll’s head or broken my slate a dozen times,” she laughed at me again as we slid together the last slide in the dance. “Now come over and be introduced to Mrs. Taylor. You have only a few minutes, for you and Buzz must both be back at the Capitol at two. I feel in honor bound to the State to send you both back on time.” And while she spoke she led me across the hall of the clubhouse and into a room full of ladies, who sat at card tables consuming very beautiful food while also preparing to resume playing the cards.
THE BEAUTIFUL MADAM WHITWORTH
Sue then made for me many introductions and all of those lovely grande dames gave to me affectionate welcomes. Some of them I had encountered at the dance of the Gouverneur Faulkner and all of them had smiles for me.
“Why, boy, you are Henry’s very self come back to us after all these years—only with a lot of added deviltry in the way of French beauty,” said that Madam Taylor, who was very stately, with white hair and a very young countenance of sweetness. “The daredevil—it was like him to send you back to us as—as revenge,” she added with something that almost seemed like anger under the sweetness of her voice.
“It is what my father always named me, Madam, the ‘daredevil,’ and will you not accept me for your cherishing?” I spoke those words to her from an impulse that I could not understand but I saw them soothe a hurt in her eyes as she laughed and kissed my cheek as I raised my head from kissing her jeweled hand.