“Suppose I should want to marry——”
“But why shouldn’t I?”
“I don’t want you to get married,” she told him; “when I come down we couldn’t have our nice times together. You’d always be thinking about your wife.”
From the porch of the Country Club, George Dalton had seen the Judge’s party at luncheon. According to George’s lexicon no one who could afford to go to the club would eat out of a basket. He rather blushed for Becky that she must sit there in the sight of everybody and share a feast with a shabby old Judge, a lean and lank stripling with straight hair, a lame duck of an officer, and two middle-aged women, who made spots of black and purple on the landscape. Like Oscar, George’s ideas of life had to do largely with motor cars and yachts, and estates on Long Island, palaces at Newport and Len ox and Palm Beach. During the war he had served rather comfortably in a becoming uniform in the Quartermaster’s Department in Washington. Now that the war was over, he regretted the becomings of the uniform. He felt to-day, however, that there were compensations in his hunting pink. He was slightly bronzed and had blue eyes. He was extremely popular with the women of the Waterman set, but was held to be the especial property of Madge MacVeigh.
Madge had observed his interest in the party on the hill.
“George,” she said, “what are you looking at?”
“I am looking at those people who are picnicking. They probably have ants in the salad and spiders in their coffee.”
“They are getting more out of it than you and I,” said Madge.
“How getting more?”
“We are tired of things, Georgie-Porgie.”
“Speak for yourself, Madge.”
“I am speaking for both of us. You are tired of me, for example.”
“My dear girl, I am not.”
“You are. And I am tired of you. It’s not your fault, and it’s not mine. It is the fault of any house-party. People see too much of each other. I am glad I am going away to-morrow, and you’ll be glad. And when we have been separated a month, you will rush up to see me, and say you couldn’t live without me.”
She dissected him coolly. Madge had a modern way of looking at things. She was not in the least sentimental. But she had big moments of feeling. It was because of this deep current which swept her away now and then from the shallows that she held Dalton’s interest. He never knew in what mood he should find her, and it added spice to their friendship.
“I didn’t know you were going to-morrow.”
“Neither did I till this morning, but I am bored to death, Georgie.”
She did not look it. She was long-limbed, slender, with heavy burned-gold hair, a skin which was pale gold after a July by the sea. The mauve of her dress and hat emphasized the gold of hair and skin. Some one had said that Madge MacVeigh at the end of a summer gave the effect of a statue cast in new bronze. Dalton in the early days of their friendship had called her his “Golden Girl.” The name had stuck to her. She had laughed at it but had liked it. “I should hate it,” she had said, “if I were rich. Perhaps some day some millionaire will turn me into gold and make it true.”