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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 271 pages of information about Paradise Garden.

“’I’d be glad to.  Of course you’re different from anything I ever saw before,’ said Jerry.  ’I’ve always thought of nature as the most beautiful thing in the world.  Now I seem to be just as sure that art is.’

“That rather took her aback, but she didn’t turn a hair.

“‘You think all this—­superfluous?’

“‘Not superfluous, perhaps.  Merely artificial.’

“‘Am I artificial?’

“‘Yes,’ bluntly!  ’I don’t understand it at all.  But it’s singularly effective.  It’s like night with only one star visible—­’

“‘The more visible,’ I put in, ‘for being Venus.’

“She looked at me slantways.  ’I’m sorry you said that, Mr. Ballard.  Venus is not my goddess.  Diana—­’

“‘The Huntress,’ I broke in again.

“‘Pallas Athene, the guardian and guide of heroes,’ she countered neatly.

“‘I’m glad you don’t like Venus, Miss Van Wyck,’ put in Jerry quickly.  ’She made a lot of trouble, just because she was pretty.  Diana—­she was the right sort, no sentimental rot for her.’

“‘Of course.  Sentiment is rot and so sloppy.’

“Jerry laughed ingenuously.  ‘That’s a good word,’ he said.  ’Imagine Diana being sloppy.’

“’Women aren’t nearly as sentimental as they used to be.  As a woman’s weapon hysteria has gone to the dust heap.  Women are learning independence.  You believe in women thinking for themselves, don’t you?’

“‘Of course,’ said Jerry.  ‘But they don’t, do they?’

“’I do.  It’s one of my gospels to be self-sufficient.  Don’t you believe me?’

“’I’d like to, you’re so lovely to look at.  I’d like to think you were perfect in everything.’

“He refreshed her.  Her artificialities one by one were falling away from her like discarded garments.  And yet I was not sure that it wasn’t artifice that was discarding them.  She was very clever.  I might have guessed it, had I noticed earlier the volumes by Freud and Strindberg on the little ebony side table.”

Ballard paused a moment to light a fresh cigarette.

“Bah!” I muttered contemptuously.

He looked over at me thoughtfully.  “You may sneer, Pope, my boy,” he commented.  “But this sort of thing has come to stay.  The infants are imbibing it with their bottles—­self-expression, self-analysis and all that.”

“But this girl is dangerous,” I remarked.

“I imagine she is,” he said calmly.  “At any rate, she’s going to prove or disprove your precious hypothesis.”

“I’m not afraid for Jerry,” I growled.  “No chameleon will change his color.  What else did she say?”

“She was very much pleased at Jerry’s compliment.

“‘Someone has taught you to be very polite,’ she said with a smile.

“‘Polite?’ asked Jerry.  ’Merely because I was hoping you weren’t flabby?’

“‘Well, I’m not flabby,’ she smiled indulgently.  ’I hate flabby people.’

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