“Father, what would you say if you knew some one was decieving you?”
“Well,” he said, “I am an old Bird and hard to decieve. A good many people think they can do it, however, and now and then some one gets away with it.”
I felt softened and repentent. Had he but patted me once more, I would have told all. But he was looking for a match for his cigar, and the opportunaty passed.
“Well,” he said, “close up that active brain of yours for the night, Bab, and here are to `don’ts’ to sleep on. Don’t break your neck in—in any way. You’re a reckless young Lady. And don’t elope with the first moony young idiot who wants to hold your hand. There will quite likly be others.”
Others! How heartless! How cynical! Were even those I love best to worldly to understand a monogamous Nature?
When he had gone out, I rose to hide my Check Book in the crown of an old hat, away from Hannah. Then I went to the window and glansed out. There was no moon, but the stars were there as usual, over the roof of that emty domacile next door, whence all life had fled to the neighborhood of the Country Club.
But a strange thing caught my eye and transfixed it. There on the street, looking up at our house, now in the first throes of sleep, was the Stranger I had seen that afternoon when I had upset the milk wagon against the Park fense.
I shall now remove the Familey to the country, which is easier on paper than in the flesh, owing to having to take china, silver, bedding and edables. Also porch furnature and so on.
Sis acted very queer while we were preparing. She sat in her room and knited, and was not at home to Callers, although there were not many owing to summer and every one away. When she would let me in, which was not often, as she said I made her head ache, I tried to turn her thoughts to marriage or to nursing at the War, which was for her own good, since she is of the kind who would never be happy leading a simple life, but should be married.
But alas for all my hopes. She said, on the day before we left, while packing her jewel box:
“You might just as well give up trying to get rid of me, Barbara. Because I do not intend to marry any one.”
“Very well, Leila,” I said, in a cold tone. “Of course it matters not to me, because I can be kept in school untill I am thirty, and never come out or have a good time, and no one will care. But when you are an old woman and have not employed your natural function of having children to suport you in Age, don’t say I did not warn you.”
“Oh, you’ll come out all right,” she said, in a brutal manner. “You’ll come out like a sky rocket. You’d be as impossable to supress as a boil.”
Carter Brooks came around that afternoon and we played marbels in the drawing room with moth balls, as the rug was up. It was while sitting on the floor eating some candy he had brought that I told him that there was no use hanging around, as Leila was not going to marry. He took it bravely, and said that he saw nothing to do but to wait for some of the younger crowd to grow up, as the older ones had all refused him.