The Parts Men Play eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 299 pages of information about The Parts Men Play.

’No, it isn’t, Horace.  It’s the biggest compliment ever paid our women.  I only wish we could try to be what you boys picture us.  That’s what makes me feel like drowning Marian every few days.  Horace, I’m proud of you.’

She patted his hand which was grasping the arm of the chair, and he blushed a hearty red.

‘Elise!’ He sat bolt-upright.  ’By gad!  I never knew it until this minute. You are the woman I ought to marry.  You are far too good and clever and all that; but, by Jove!  I could do something in the world if I had you to work for.  Don’t stop me, Elise.  I am serious.  I should have known all along’——­

‘Horace, Horace!’ Hardly knowing whether to laugh or to cry, Elise put her hand over his mouth and checked the amorous torrent.  ’You’re a perfect dear,’ she said, ’and I’m ever so grateful’——­

’But’——­

‘But you mustn’t be silly.  This is only the reaction from Marian.’

‘It’s nothing of the sort,’ he blurted, putting aside her hand.  ’I—­I really do—­I love you.  You’re different from any other girl I ever met.’

’My dear, you mustn’t say such things.  You know you don’t love me as you will the right girl when you meet her.’

He got out of the chair by getting over its arm.  ’I beg your pardon, Elise,’ he said, not without a certain shy dignity.  ’I meant every word I said—­but I suppose there’s some one else.’

‘Only a dream-man, Horace.’

‘What about that American?’

‘What—­American?’ Her agitation was something she could hardly have explained.

’That author-fellow at Roselawn.  He was frightfully keen on you.  I remember half-a-dozen times when he would be talking to us, and if you came in he’d go as mum as an oyster, and just follow you with his eyes.  Is he the chap, Elise?’

’Good gracious!’—­she forced a laugh—­ ’why, I don’t even know where he is.’

’Don’t you?  He’s in London; I can tell you that much.  Last month in France I ran across that Doosenberry-Jewdrop fellow—–­you know—­the futurist artist.’

‘Do you mean Johnston Smyth?’

‘That’s the chap.’

‘I didn’t know he was in France.’

‘Rather.  I thought your brother would have told you.’

My brother?’ There was not a vestige of colour in her cheeks.  ’What do you mean?’

Maynard scratched the back of his head.  ‘Smyth told me,’ he said, wondering at the cause of her agitation, ’that Dick and he enlisted together some months ago.  By Jove!  I remember now.  He told me that this American fellow put them up at his rooms in St. James’s Square one night.  Smyth didn’t know who Dick was until they got to France.  He was travelling under the name of Sherlock, or Shylock, or Sherwood’——­

‘I—­I thought Dick was in China.’  She wrung her hands nervously.  ’You didn’t see him?’

’No.  That’s all I know about him, except that he was transferred to some other battalion than Dinglederry Smyth’s.’

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The Parts Men Play from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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