“Then you are in trouble; and you mean to confess to me? Thank you, Paul, for what you say. I don’t think I ever had any cause for worrying that I didn’t come straight to you for comfort. And I always got it, too.”
“Even when you and Dorothy had that nasty little spat that began to look serious until I just happened to find the note that made all the trouble, and forced Eli Kosmer to confess he wrote it. You remember that time, Jack?”
“I guess I do. Dorothy often speaks of it to this day; for we’re good friends, and always will be. But see here, why do you just happen to mention that business? Oh! I begin to see now,” added Jack, as Paul turned red in the face, and laughed in a rather constrained way.
“I shouldn’t wonder but what you did. I’m sure I’ve denied every other cause you could think of,” he said, sighing heavily.
“It’s Arline then. She’s been doing something. Yes, I remember now that I saw her out riding with Ward Kenwood only yesterday. Say, that dude has been saying something that wasn’t true about you, Paul, I’d just wager anything. He’s gone and poisoned her ears with a yarn. It’d be just like the sneak!”
“Just go slow, Jack. You’re saying something that you can’t prove. Of course I believe myself that Ward wouldn’t stop at anything like that; but without the least proof I can’t accuse him of it,” Paul said, severely.
“But you could ask Arline?” his friend went on.
“Could I? Well, when a girl chooses to turn me down without a hearing, and even smiles when she drives past me in the company of a fellow she knows I detest, and whom she has often said she disliked, what then? Think I would so far forget myself as to get down on my knees, and beg her to take me back into favor? Bah!”
“Is it so bad as that then? Oh well, there are other girls just as pretty as Arline; and you’ve always been a great favorite with them, Paul; but hold on, why not let me try to straighten this thing out? You’ve helped me all right; and tit for tat is fair play.”
“H’m! how do you think you could do anything, Jack? I don’t suppose you’d care to go straight to her, and ask her point blank what I’d done to make her treat me so cruelly? I shouldn’t think of allowing that at all?”
Paul tried to display an air of indifference; but it was poorly assumed; and his chum knew full well that he was much more pained at these strange actions on the part of Arline than he cared to admit.
“Oh! there are ways and ways. For instance, you know that Dorothy is one of the crowd of high school girls Arline goes with. Ward’s sister Mazie is another; and that might account for her being at his house so much. Now, suppose you let me tell Dorothy. She’ll keep it a dead secret, and in some way manage to get a confession. Say you will, Paul!”
“Have it your own way, old fellow. I’m just about ready to wash my hands of the whole business. Besides, I’ve really too many irons in the fire to be bothering over the silly notions of girls.”