“But the music’s lovely,” gasped little Miss Plummer, as if the fact made his claim ridiculous. “I’ve been humming it ever since.”
“I can’t help that. I still stick to it that I wrote it.”
“You aren’t George Bevan!”
“But—” Miss Plummer’s voice almost failed here—“But I’ve been dancing to your music for years! I’ve got about fifty of your records on the Victrola at home.”
George blushed. However successful a man may be he can never get used to Fame at close range.
“Why, that tricky thing—you know, in the second act—is the darlingest thing I ever heard. I’m mad about it.”
“Do you mean the one that goes lumty-lumty-tum, tumty-tumty-tum?”
“No the one that goes ta-rumty-tum-tum, ta-rumty-tum. You know! The one about Granny dancing the shimmy.”
“I’m not responsible for the words, you know,” urged George hastily. “Those are wished on me by the lyrist.”
“I think the words are splendid. Although poor popper thinks its improper, Granny’s always doing it and nobody can stop her! I loved it.” Miss Plummer leaned forward excitedly. She was an impulsive girl. “Lady Caroline.”
Conversation stopped. Lady Caroline turned.
“Did you know that Mr. Bevan was the Mr. Bevan?”
Everybody was listening now. George huddled pinkly in his chair. He had not foreseen this bally-hooing. Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego combined had never felt a tithe of the warmth that consumed him. He was essentially a modest young man.
“The Mr. Bevan?” echoed Lady Caroline coldly. It was painful to her to have to recognize George’s existence on the same planet as herself. To admire him, as Miss Plummer apparently expected her to do, was a loathsome task. She cast one glance, fresh from the refrigerator, at the shrinking George, and elevated her aristocratic eyebrows.
Miss Plummer was not damped. She was at the hero-worshipping age, and George shared with the Messrs. Fairbanks, Francis X. Bushman, and one or two tennis champions an imposing pedestal in her Hall of Fame.
“You know! George Bevan, who wrote the music of ’Follow the Girl’.”
Lady Caroline showed no signs of thawing. She had not heard of ‘Follow the Girl’. Her attitude suggested that, while she admitted the possibility of George having disgraced himself in the manner indicated, it was nothing to her.
“And all those other things,” pursued Miss Plummer indefatigably. “You must have heard his music on the Victrola.”
“Why, of course!”
It was not Lady Caroline who spoke, but a man further down the table. He spoke with enthusiasm.
“Of course, by Jove!” he said. “The Schenectady Shimmy, by Jove, and all that! Ripping!”