“Well, no,” Lottie admitted. “But it’s a growing place. And we have the best kind of times.”
“What kind?” The young man easily consented to turn the commercial into a social inquiry.
“Oh, picnics, and river parties, and buggy-rides, and dances.”
“I’m keen on dancing,” said Mr. Pogis. “I hope they’ll give us a dance on board. Will you put me down for the first dance?”
“I don’t care. Will you send me some flowers? The steward must have some left in the refrigerator.”
“Well, rather! I’ll send you a spray, if he’s got enough.”
“A spray? What’s a spray?”
“Oh, I say! My sister always wears one. It’s a long chain of flowers reachin’ from your shoulder diagonally down to your waist.”
Does your sister always have her sprays sent to her?”
“Well, rather! Don’t they send flowers to girls for dances in the States?”
“Well, rather! Didn’t I just ask you?”
This was very true, and after a moment of baffle Mr. Pogis said, in generalization, “If you go with a young lady in a party to the theatre you send her a box of chocolates.”
“Only when you go to theatre! I couldn’t get enough, then, unless you asked me every night,” said Lottie, and while Mr. Pogis was trying to choose between “Oh, I say!” and something specific, like, “I should like to ask you every night,” she added, “And what would happen if you sent a girl a spray for the theatre and chocolates for a dance? Wouldn’t it jar her?”
Now, indeed, there was nothing for him but to answer, “Oh, I say!”
“Well, say, then! Here comes Boyne, and I must go. Well, Boyne,” she called, from the dark nook where she sat, to her brother as he stumbled near, with his eyes to the stars, “has the old lady retired?”
He gave himself away finely. “What old lady!”
“Well, maybe at your age you don’t consider her very old. But I don’t think a boy ought to sit up mooning at his grandmother all night. I know Miss Rasmith’s no relation, if that’s what you’re going to say!”
“Oh, I say!” Mr. Pogis chuckled. “You are so personal.”
“Well, rather!” said Lottie, punishing his presumption. “But I don’t think it’s nice for a kid, even if she isn’t.”
“Kid!” Boyne ground, through his clenched teeth.
By this time Lottie was up out of her chair and beyond repartee in her flight down the gangway stairs. She left the two youngsters confronted.
“What do you say to a lemon-squash?” asked Mr. Pogis, respecting his friend’s wounded dignity, and ignoring Lottie and her offence.
“I don’t care if I do,” said Boyne in gloomy acquiescence.