She looked up. He ventured to put his arm around her waist. She shook herself free, very weakly. He tried again and with success.
“I know I’ve made an idiot of myself,” he went on. “I’d no right to come down here like that. I just want you to forgive me now, that’s all. I didn’t mean to swagger about being rich. I’m not enjoying it a bit till you come along.”
Ellen raised her head once more. Her lips were’ quivering, half with a smile, although the tears were still in her eyes.
“Sure you mean it?” she asked softly.
“Absolutely!” he insisted. “Go and put on your hat with the feathers and we’ll meet the Johnsons and take them for a ride.”
“You don’t like the one with the feathers,” she said, doubtfully.
“I like it now,” he assured her heartily. “I’m fonder of you at this moment, Ellen, than any one in the world. I always have been, really.”
“Stupid!” she declared. “I shall wear my hat with the wing and we will call around at Saunders’ and I can buy a motor veil. I always did think that a motor veil would suit me. We’d better call at Mrs. Cross’s, too, and have her come in and cook the supper. Don’t get into mischief while I’m upstairs.”
“I’ll come, too—and see little Alfred,” he added, hastily.
“Carry the tray, then, and mind where you’re going,” Ellen ordered.
A MAN’S SOUL
The half-yearly directors’ meeting of the Menatogen Company had just been held. One by one, those who had attended it were taking their leave. The auditor, with a bundle of papers under his arm, shook hands cordially with the chairman—Alfred Burton, Esquire—and Mr. Waddington, and Mr. Bomford, who, during the absence of the professor in Assyria, represented the financial interests of the company.
“A most wonderful report, gentlemen,” the auditor pronounced,—“a business, I should consider, without its equal in the world.”
“And still developing,” Mr. Waddington remarked, impressively.
“And still developing,” the auditor agreed. “Another three years like the last and I shall have the pleasure of numbering at least three millionaires among my acquaintances.”
“Shall we—?” Mr. Burton suggested, glancing towards Waddington.
Mr. Waddington nodded, but Mr. Bomford took up his hat. He was dressed in the height of subdued fashion. His clothes and manners would have graced a Cabinet Minister. He had, as a matter of fact, just entered Parliament.
“You will excuse me, gentlemen,” he said. “I make it a rule never to take anything at all in the middle of the day.”
He took his leave with the auditor.
“Pompous old ass!” Mr. Waddington murmured.
“A snob!” Mr. Alfred
Burton declared,—“that’s what I call him! Got his eye on a place in
Society. Saw his name in the paper the other day a guest at Lady
Somebody’s reception. Here goes, old chap—success to Menatogen!”