“Just a moment, Martin, please. As man to man, tell me if Patty Fairfield refused to take the part of the Spirit of the Sea?”
“Why, yes; she did,” said Guy, looking perplexed. “It’s a queer business and very unlike Patty. But she wrote me a note, saying she didn’t want the part, and asking me not to mention the matter to her at all.”
“She did? Thank you. Good-bye.” And Bill returned to the house, apparently thinking deeply.
“Hello, Billy Boy, what’s the matter?” called Mona, gaily, as he came up the veranda steps.
“I’m pining for you,” returned Bill. “Do shed the light of your countenance on me for a few blissful moments. You’re the most unattainable hostess I ever house-partied with!”
“All right, I’ll walk down to the lower terrace and back with you. Now, tell me what’s on your mind.”
“How sympathetic you are, Mona. Well, I will tell you. I’m all broken up over this Pageant business. I wanted Patty Fairfield on the float with me, and she won’t take the part, and now Daisy has cabbaged it.”
“I know it. But Patty says Guy Martin chose Daisy in preference to her. And she says it’s all right.”
“Great jumping Anacondas! She says that, does she? And she says it’s all right, does she? Well, it’s just about as far from all right as the North Pole is from the South Pole! Oh—ho! E—hee! Wow, wow! I perceive a small beam of light breaking in upon this black cat’s pocket of a situation! Mona, will you excuse me while I go to raise large and elegant ructions among your lady friends?”
“Now, Bill, don’t stir up a fuss. I know your wild Western way of giving people ‘a piece of your mind,’ but Spring Beach society doesn’t approve of such methods. What’s it all about, Bill? Tell me, and let’s settle it quietly.”
“Settle it quietly! When an injustice has been done that ought to be blazoned from East to West!”
“Yes, and make matters most uncomfortable for the victim of that injustice.”
Big Bill calmed down. The anger faded from his face, his hands unclenched themselves, and he sat down on the terrace balustrade.
“You’re right, Mona,” he said, in a low, tense voice. “I’m nothing but an untamed cowboy! I have no refinement, no culture, no judgment. But I’ll do as you say; I’ll settle this thing quietly.”
As a matter of fact, Bill’s quiet, stern face and firm-set jaw betokened an even more strenuous “settlement” than his blustering mood had done; but he dropped the whole subject, and began to talk to Mona, interestedly, about her own part in the Pageant.
IN THE ARBOUR
After returning from her motor ride with Roger, Patty went to her room to write some letters.
But she had written only so far as “My dearest Nan,” when a big pink rose came flying through the open window and fell right on the paper.