She narrowed her eyelids.
“Yes, sometimes I do; once I was; but it’s a luxury few of us Negroes can afford. Then, too, I insist that it’s jolly to fool them.”
“Don’t you hate the deception?”
She chuckled and put her head to one side.
“At first I did; but, do you know, now I believe I prefer it.”
He looked so horrified that she burst out laughing. He laughed too. She was a puzzle to him. He kept thinking what a mistress of a mansion she would make.
“Why do you say these things?” he asked suddenly.
“Because I want you to do well here in Washington.”
“No, special.” Her eyes were bright with meaning.
“Then you care—for me?”
He bent forward and cast the die.
“Enough to marry me?”
She answered very calmly and certainly:
He leaned toward her. And then between him and her lips a dark and shadowy face; two great storm-swept eyes looked into his out of a world of infinite pain, and he dropped his head in hesitation and shame, and kissed her hand. Miss Wynn thought him delightfully bashful.
The election of Harry Cresswell to Congress was a very simple matter. The Colonel and his son drove to town and consulted the Judge; together they summoned the sheriff and the local member of the State legislature.
“I think it’s about time that we Cresswells asked for a little of the political pie,” the Colonel smilingly opened.
“Well, what do you want?” asked the Judge.
“Harry wants to go to Congress.”
The Judge hesitated. “We’d half promised that to Caldwell,” he objected.
“It will be a little costly this year, too,” suggested the sheriff, tentatively.
“About how much?” asked the Colonel.
“At least five thousand,” said the Legislator.
The Colonel said nothing. He simply wrote a check and the matter was settled. In the Fall Harry Cresswell was declared elected. There were four hundred and seventy-two votes cast but the sheriff added a cipher. He said it would look better.
Early December found the Cresswells domiciled in a small house in Du Pont Circle, Washington. They had an automobile and four servants, and the house was furnished luxuriously. Mary Taylor Cresswell, standing in her morning room and looking out on the flowers of the square, told herself that few people in the world had cause to be as happy as she. She was tastefully gowned, in a way to set off her blonde beauty and her delicate rounded figure. She was surrounded with wealth, and above all, she was in that atmosphere of aristocracy for which she had always yearned; and already she was acquiring that poise of the head, and a manner of directing the servants, which showed her born to the purple.