Clementina smiled at her vehemence. “Why, it’s nothing. And I don’t know whether I should like to.”
“Oh, yes,” urged Lord Lioncourt. “Such a good cause, you know.”
“What is it?” Mrs. Milray insisted. “Is it something you could do alone?”
“It’s just a dance that I learned at Woodlake. The teacha said that all the young ladies we’e leaning it. It’s a skut-dance—”
“The very thing!” Mrs. Milray shouted. “It’ll be the hit of the evening.”
“But I’ve never done it before any one,” Clementina faltered.
“They’ll all be doing their turns,” the Englishman said. “Speaking, and singing, and playing.”
Clementina felt herself giving way, and she pleaded in final reluctance, “But I haven’t got a pleated skut in my steama trunk.”
“No matter! We can manage that.” Mrs. Milray jumped to her feet and took Lord Lioncourt’s arm. “Now we must go and drum up somebody else.” He did not seem eager to go, but he started. “Then that’s all settled,” she shouted over her shoulder to Clementina.
“No, no, Mrs. Milray!” Clementina called after her. “The ship tilts so—”
“Nonsense! It’s the smoothest run she ever made in December. And I’ll engage to have the sea as steady as a rock for you. Remember, now, you’ve promised.”
Mrs. Milray whirled her Englishman away, and left Clementina sitting beside her husband.
“Did you want to dance for them, Clementina?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” she said, with the vague smile of one to whom a pleasant hope has occurred.
“I thought perhaps you were letting Mrs. Milray bully you into it. She’s a frightful tyrant.”
“Oh, I guess I should like to do it, if you think it would be—nice.”
“I dare say it will be the nicest thing at their ridiculous show.” Milray laughed as if her willingness to do the dance had defeated a sentimental sympathy in him.
“I don’t believe it will be that,” said Clementina, beaming joyously. “But I guess I shall try it, if I can find the right kind of a dress.”
“Is a pleated skirt absolutely necessary,” asked Milray, gravely.
“I don’t see how I could get on without it,” said Clementina.
She was so serious still when she went down to her state-room that Mrs. Lander was distracted from her potential ailments to ask: “What is it, Clementina?”
“Oh, nothing. Mrs. Milray has got me to say that I would do something at a concert they ah’ going to have on the ship.” She explained, “It’s that skut dance I learnt at Woodlake of Miss Wilson.”
“Well, I guess if you’re worryin’ about that you needn’t to.”
“Oh, I’m not worrying about the dance. I was just thinking what I should wear. If I could only get at the trunks!”
“It won’t make any matte what you wear,” said Mrs. Lander. “It’ll be the greatest thing; and if ’t wa’n’t for this sea-sickness that I have to keep fightin’ off he’a, night and day, I should come up and see you myself. You ah’ just lovely in that dance, Clementina.”