“Oh, are you? Then I’ll be her godmother! She ought to have both.”
“Certainly. Though I think I heard that Miss Gale has the position.”
“Of course she has! That girl appropriates everything! I think she’s too fresh!”
“You mean that for a compliment, I’m sure. Yes, she is,—she’s like a dewy daisy—”
“Dewy daisy, nothing! She isn’t so childlike as she wants to appear!”
“There now, Elise, don’t talk like that! It doesn’t sound pretty,—and goodness knows you’ve no reason to be jealous.”
“What?” asked Elise, already mollified.
“Why, you, with your established place in this household, and in our set,—mustn’t stoop to be—jealous—of a little schoolgirl!”
“Oh, I’m not! How dare you hint it?”
“Then don’t act so. Take my advice, Lisa, and don’t show even the appearance of that sort of thing. It reacts,—you know.”
Elise did know,—she knew Chick was telling her the truth, and telling it, too, only in the kindest spirit of real friendship.
She bit her lip in annoyance, and said, sharply, “Don’t abuse the privilege of an old friend, Chick.”
“I don’t mean to,—honest I don’t, Elise. Forgive me if I’ve offended you.”
“Oh, you haven’t. That’s all right. Have you ever met this Gale girl before?”
“No; but she sat next me at dinner, and she told me about herself. It seems she has a wonderful brother—”
“She has!” It was amazing how Elise brightened up. “Why wasn’t he invited this evening?”
“He’s away from home just now,—will return next week,—I think she said. Get on your warpaint and feathers! See, the conquering heroine comes!”
“Stop teasing, Chick. I do like to meet strangers, and if Patty’s neighbour is attractive—”
“Patty’s neighbour’s brother,—you mean?”
“I do! If he’s attractive, it’ll add to my pleasure when visiting Patty,—won’t it?”
“It sure will,—and, may I say it? You’ll add to his pleasure, I’ve no doubt.”
“Very pretty, Chick. You are a nice boy.”
“Thank you, ma’am. But I won’t be in it, when the brother appears on the scene, I fear! So, to make hay while the sun shines, won’t you go in and dance with me? I hear the light fantastics tripping in the hall.”
They went in and found all of the party keeping time to the gay music of the big victrola, and they joined the swaying couples.
As they passed Betty Gale and Van Reypen, Elise overheard her saying, “You’re awfully good to me,—and you’ve only just met me to-night!”
Phil’s reply was lost as they danced away, but Elise realised that it was an eager expression of his desire that they should meet again, and soon, and her demon of jealousy once more up-reared his ugly head.
But she concealed it,—outwardly, at least,—and when the time came, she was so cordial and sweet to Miss Gale that a friendship pact was sealed between them.