“You need a handy man, I see,” the actor observed. “What a fine catch you have had—blackfish, snappers, and fluke, eh? I’ll carry the baskets up to your uncle’s store for you. Fine old man, your uncle, Miss Grayling. And what stories he can tell of his adventures—my word!”
“Come over to-night and tell me how he is, betty, won’t you?” the girl whispered to the “able seaman” and the latter, nodding her comprehension, pulled back to the sloop. Neither of them saw that Lawford was watching the little group on shore and that when Bane and the girl turned toward the store the young man looked after them with gloomy visage.
The girl’s replies to Bane’s observation were most inconsequential. Her mind was upon Lawford and his condition. She was personally uncomfortable, too; for although the sun and wind had dried her hair and her blouse, beneath the dry skirt her clothing was wet.
As they came to the Shell Road the long, gray roadster Louise had seen before came down from town. L’Enfant Terrible was at the wheel while her two older sisters sat in the narrow seat behind. Cecile tossed a saucy word over her shoulder, indicating Louise and Bane, and her older sisters smiled superciliously upon the two pedestrians. Louise was too deeply occupied with thoughts of the injured man to note this by-play.
THE ODDS AGAINST HIM
“Horrid taste she has, I must say,” drawled Marian. Marian was the eldest of the Tapp girls. To tell the truth (but this is strictly in confidence and must go no further!) she had been christened Mary Ann after Israel Tapp’s commonplace mother. That, of course, was some time before I. Tapp, the Salt Water Taffy King, had come into his kingdom and assumed the robe and scepter of his present financial position.
“Oh!” ejaculated Cecile. “That’s Judson Bane, the Broadway star, she’s walking with. I’d like to know him myself.”
“You coarse little thing!” drawled Marian.
“And you not out yet!” Prue, the second sister, observed cuttingly. “You’re only a child. I wish you’d learn your place and keep it.”
“Oh, fudge!” responded L’Enfant Terrible, not deeply impressed by these sisterly admonitions.
Marian was twenty-six—two years Lawford’s senior. She was a heavy, lymphatic girl, fast becoming as matronly of figure as her mother. She still bolstered up her belief that she had matrimonial prospects; but the men who wanted to marry her she would not have while those she desired to marry would not have her. Marian Tapp was becoming bored.
Prue was a pretty girl. She was but nineteen. However, she had likewise assumed a bored air after being in society a single season.
“That big actor man will put poor Fordy’s nose out of joint with the film lady,” Prue said. “Look out for that dog, Cis. It’s the Perritons’. If you run over him——”