Fennel and Rue eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 105 pages of information about Fennel and Rue.

“No, I can’t plead guilty.  But why isn’t it predicable of Mrs. Westangle?”

“You mustn’t ask too much of me, Mr. Verrian.  Somehow, I won’t say how, it’s been imagined for her.  She’s heard of its being done somewhere.  It can’t be supposed she’s read of it, anywhere.”

“No, I dare say not.”

Miss Macroyd came out with her laugh.  “I should like to know what she makes of you, Mr. Verrian, when she is alone with herself.  She must have looked you up and authenticated you in her own way, but it would be as far from your way as—­well, say—­the Milky Way.”

“You don’t think she asked me because she met me at your house?”

“No, that wouldn’t be enough, from her point of view.  She means to go much further than we’ve ever got.”

“Then a year from now she wouldn’t ask me?”

“It depends upon who asks you in the mean time.”

“You might get to be a fad, and then she would feel that she would have to have you.”

“You’re not flattering me?”

“Do you find it flattering?”

“It isn’t exactly my idea of the reward I’ve been working for.  What shall I do to be a fad?”

“Well, rather degrading stunts, if you mean in the smart set.  Jump about on all fours and pick up a woman’s umbrella with your teeth, and bark.  Anything else would be easier for you among chic people, where your brilliancy would count.”

“Brilliancy?  Oh, thank you!  Go on.”

“Now, a girl—­if you were a girl—­”

“Oh yes, if I were a girl!  That will be so much more interesting.”

“A girl,” Miss Macroyd continued, “might do it by posing effectively for amateur photography.  Or doing something original in dramatics or pantomimics or recitation—­but very original, because chic people are critical.  Or if she had a gift for getting up things that would show other girls off; or suggesting amusements; but that would be rather in the line of swell people, who are not good at getting up things and are glad of help.”

“I see, I see!” Verrian said, eagerly.  But he walked along looking down at the snow, and not meeting the laughing glance that Miss Macroyd cast at his face.  “Well?”

“I believe that’s all,” she said, sharply.  She added, less sharply:  “She couldn’t afford to fail, though, at any point.  The fad that fails is extinguished forever.  Will these simple facts do for fiction?  Or is it for somebody in real life you’re asking, Mr. Verrian?”

“Oh, for fiction.  And thank you very much.  Oh, that’s rather pretty!”

XIII.

They had come into the meadow where the snow battle was to be, and on its slope, against the dark weft of the young birch-trees, there was a mimic castle outlined in the masonry of white blocks quarried from the drifts and built up in courses like rough blocks of marble.  A decoration of green from the pines that mixed with the birches had been suggested rather than executed, and was perhaps the more effective for its sketchiness.

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Fennel and Rue from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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