Saturday afternoon as Virginia was just stepping out of her house to go and see Rachel to talk over her new plans, a carriage drove up containing three of her fashionable friends. Virginia went out to the drive-way and stood there talking with them. They had not come to make a formal call but wanted Virginia to go driving with them up on the boulevard. There was a band concert in the park. The day was too pleasant to be spent indoors.
“Where have you been all this time, Virginia?” asked one of the girls, tapping her playfully on the shoulder with a red silk parasol. “We hear that you have gone into the show business. Tell us about it.”
Virginia colored, but after a moment’s hesitation she frankly told something of her experience at the Rectangle. The girls in the carriage began to be really interested.
“I tell you, girls, let’s go ‘slumming’ with Virginia this afternoon instead of going to the band concert. I’ve never been down to the Rectangle. I’ve heard it’s an awful wicked place and lots to see. Virginia will act as guide, and it would be”—“real fun” she was going to say, but Virginia’s look made her substitute the word “interesting.”
Virginia was angry. At first thought she said to herself she would never go under such circumstances. The other girls seemed to be of the same mind with the speaker. They chimed in with earnestness and asked Virginia to take them down there.
Suddenly she saw in the idle curiosity of the girls an opportunity. They had never seen the sin and misery of Raymond. Why should they not see it, even if their motive in going down there was simply to pass away an afternoon.
“For I come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.”
“Be ye therefore imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, even as Christ also loved you.”
“Hadn’t we better take a policeman along?” said one of the girls with a nervous laugh. “It really isn’t safe down there, you know.”
“There’s no danger,” said Virginia briefly.
“Is it true that your brother Rollin has been converted?” asked the first speaker, looking at Virginia curiously. It impressed her during the drive to the Rectangle that all three of her friends were regarding her with close attention as if she were peculiar.
“Yes, he certainly is.”
“I understand he is going around to the clubs talking with his old friends there, trying to preach to them. Doesn’t that seem funny?” said the girl with the red silk parasol.