“Getting acquainted,” he said. “It’s going to be an endless process, apparently. Heavens, what a lot there is to talk about!”
“Yes,” Frederica persisted, “but what do you do by way of being—nice to her?” And as he only looked puzzled and rather unhappy, she elucidated further. “What’s your concession, dear old stupid, to the fact that you’re her lover—in the way of presents and flowers and theaters and things?”
“But Rose isn’t like the rest of them,” he objected. “She doesn’t care anything about that sort of thing.”
Whereat Frederica laughed. “Try it,” she said, “just for an experiment, Roddy. Don’t ask her if she wants to go, ask her to go. Get tickets for one of the musical things, engage a table for dinner and for supper, at two of the restaurants, and send her flowers. Do it handsomely, you know, as if ordinary things weren’t good enough for her. Oh, and take our big car. Taxis wouldn’t quite be in the picture. Try it, Roddy, just to see what happens.”
He looked thoughtful at first, then interested, and at last he smiled, reached over and patted her hand. “All right, Freddy,” he said. “The handsome thing shall be done.”
The result was that at a quarter past one A.M., a night or two later, he tipped the carriageman at the entrance to the smartest of Chicago’s supper restaurants, stepped into Martin’s biggest limousine, and dropped back on the cushions beside a girl he hardly knew.
“You wonder!” he said, as her hand slid into his. “I didn’t know you could shine like that. All the evening you’ve kept my heart in my throat. I don’t know a thing we’ve seen or eaten—hardly where we’ve been.”
“I do,” she declared, “and I shall never forget it. Not one smallest thing about it. You see, it’s the first time anything like it ever happened to me.”
He exclaimed incredulously at that—wanted to know what she meant.
He felt the weight of her relaxed contented body, as she leaned closer to him—felt her draw in a long slow sigh. “I don’t know whether I can talk sense to-night or not,” she said, “but I’ll try. Why, I’ve been quite a lot at the theater, of course, and two or three times to the restaurants. But never—oh, as if I belonged like that. It always seemed a little wrong, and extravagant. And then, it’s never lasted. After the theater, or the dinner, I’ve walked over to the elevated, you know. So this has been like—well, like flying in a dream, without any bumps to wake me up. It sort of goes to my head just to be sitting here like this, floating along home. Only—only, I wish it was to our home, Rodney, instead of just mine.”
“You darling!” he said. And, presently: “I’ll tell you what we’ll do to-morrow, if you’ll run away from your dressmaker. We’ll go and buy a car for ourselves. It’s ridiculous I didn’t get one long ago. Frederica’s always been at me to. You see, mother wouldn’t have anything but horses, and I sold those, of course, when she died. I’ve meant to get a car, but I just never got round to it.”