She gave him a humorously exaggerated account of the prophylactic measures her mother had submitted her to the night before, and she concluded:
“I’m awfully sorry mother’s not at home—mother and my sister Portia. They’d both like to thank you for—looking after me last night. Because really, you did, you know.”
“There never was anything less altruistic in the world,” he assured her. “I dropped off of that car solely in pursuit of a selfish aim. And I didn’t come out here to-day to be thanked, either. I mean, of course, I’d enjoy meeting your mother and sister very much, but what I came for was to get acquainted with you.”
He saw her glance wander a little dubiously to the door. “That is,” he concluded, “if you haven’t something else to do.”
She flushed and smiled. “No, it wasn’t that,” she said, “I was trying to make up my mind whether it would be better to ask you to wait here ten minutes while I went up and made myself a little more presentable.... I mean, whether you’d rather have me fit to look at, or have me like this and not be bored by waiting. It’s all one to me, you see, because even if I did come down again presentable, you’d know—well, that I wasn’t that way naturally.”
Whereupon he laughed out again, told her that a ten-minute wait would bore him horribly, and that if she didn’t mind, he much preferred her natural.
“All right,” she said, and went on with the conversation where she had interrupted it.
“Why, I’m nobody much to get acquainted with,” she said. “Mother’s the interesting one—mother and Portia. Mother’s quite a person. She’s Naomi Rutledge Stanton, you know.”
“I know I ought to know,” Rodney said, and her quick appreciative smile over his candor rewarded him for not having pretended.
“Oh,” she said, “mother’s written two or three books, and lots of magazine articles, about women—women’s rights and suffrage, and all that. She’s been—well, sort of a leader ever since she graduated from college, back in—just think!—1870, when most girls used to have—accomplishments—’French, music, and washing extra,’ you know.”
She said it all with a quite adorable seriousness and his gravity matched hers when he replied:
“I would like to meet her very much. Feminism’s a subject I’m blankly ignorant about.”
“I don’t believe,” she said thoughtfully, “that I’d call it feminism in talking to mother about it, if I were you. Mother’s a suffragist, but”—there came another wave of faint color along with her smile—“but—well, she’s awfully respectable, you know.”
She didn’t seem to mind his laughing out at that, though she didn’t join him.
“What about the other interesting member of the family,” he asked presently, “your sister? Which is she, a suffragist or a feminist?”
“I suppose,” she said, “you’ll call Portia a feminist. Anyway, she smokes cigarettes. Oh, can’t I get you some? I forgot!”