“I—I really feel scarcely equal to the attempt,” she murmured nervously, yet rising to her feet. Then a new thought seemed suddenly to occur to her. “Oh, Mr. Moffat, I have been so highly favored, and I am so extremely anxious to do everything I can to show my gratitude. I know it is requesting so much of you to ask your relinquishment of this first dance with me to-night. As president of the Bachelors’ Club it is your right, of course, but don’t you truly think I ought to give it to Mr. McNeil? We were together all the way from the house, you know, and we had such a delightful walk. You wouldn’t truly mind yielding up your claim for just this once, would you?”
Moffat did not reply, simply because he could not; he was struck dumb, gasping for breath, the room whirling around before him, while he stared at her with dazed, unseeing eyes. His very helplessness to respond she naturally interpreted as acquiescence.
“It is so good of you, Mr. Moffat, for I realize how you were counting upon this first dance, were n’t you? But Mr. McNeil being here as the guest of your club, I think it is perfectly beautiful of you to waive your own rights as president, so as to acknowledge his unexpected contribution to the joy of our evening.” She touched him playfully with her hand, the other resting lightly upon McNeil’s sleeve, her innocent, happy face upturned to his dazed eyes. “But remember, the next turn is to be yours, and I shall never forget this act of chivalry.”
It is doubtful if he saw her depart, for the entire room was merely an indistinct blur. He was too desperately angry even to swear. In this emergency, Mr. Wynkoop, dimly realizing that something unpleasant had occurred, sought to attract the attention of his new parishioner along happier lines.
“How exceedingly strange it is, Mr. Moffat,” he ventured, “that beings otherwise rational, and possessing souls destined for eternity, can actually appear to extract pleasure from such senseless exercises? I do not in the least blame Miss Spencer, for she is yet young, and probably thoughtless about such matters, as the youthful are wont to be, but I am, indeed, rejoiced to note that you do not dance.”
Moffat wheeled upon him, his teeth grinding savagely together. “Shut up!” he snapped, fiercely, and shaking off the pastor’s gently restraining fingers, shouldered his passage through the crowd toward the door.
THE LIEUTENANT MEETS MISS SPENCER
Lieutenant Brant was somewhat delayed in reaching the scene of Miss Spencer’s social triumph. Certain military requirements were largely responsible for this delay, and he had patiently wrestled with an unsatisfactory toilet, mentally excoriating a service which would not permit the transportation of dress uniforms while on scouting detail. Nevertheless, when he finally stepped forth into the brilliant moonlight,