m mm m m w j.im. .sri.. tjji
"1 know it Well? I've never had
a proposal in my life and I meant
George to be the first That's why I
am leading him on."
"Bessie!" interposed her friend,
shocked, yet wondering.
"That's what I'm doing. I tell you,
I have that man at the end of a nice
long string. He thinks he has only
got to ask me and he'll get me. But
I mean to have some fun out of life,
with mamma so easy-going, and I'm
going to break a dozen hearts at least
before I make my choice."
"But is it fair to George?"
"I hope so. But I don't care if it
isn't Listen, Tess! I only wish you
could hear when he proposes. I've got
him so that I can make him do it any
time I want to. "Vhen he looks like
beginning I'm going to lure him on
and listen with downcast eyes and
bhishing face, and then, as soon as
he has finished, I am going to look
him straight in the eye and say:
. 'Nothing doing, George!' Just like
"You'll get a reputation, as a flirt?'
"I don't care. Other girls do the
same thing. Besides, you know we
haven't much money, and how am I
going to get gifts and things unless
the men give them to me? Now
George' gave me this box of candy.
WellJ've got two other fellows on
the lead, too. Oh, Tess, if only you
could see the fun. George is com
"My dear "
"Have you good ears; Tess? Why
don't you go when he comes, and sit
on the piazza behind the locust
"I will, then. But, 0, Bessie "
Emily Hilton turned away, sick
with disgust It was growing darker
as the moon waned. That was why
she did not recognize George Ray
mond till she almost bumped into
him, and did not at first know that
he liad heard.
Whatever George had heard, and
how much, he gave no sign of it half
an hour later when he made his way
toward Bessie in the summerhouse.
He carried another box of chocolates,
done up in pink ribbon, which he be-'
stowed upon the giggling girl. Five
minutes afterward Tess, who had
seized the opportunity to depart, sat
on the piazza, straining her ears to
catch the words of the lover and her
After a while she heard George
say, in a low voice:
"Bessie Bessie, dear, there is
something that I have wanted to say
to you for a long time. But it takes
courage, and somehow I have not
dared to mention it It means such
a chance in your life, Bessie." .
"What is it, Mr. Raymond?" Tess
heard Bessie answer very softly.
George Raymond seemed to hesi
tate. "I am not sure even now that
I ought to tell you," he said. "But I
am sure that you must have guessed
something of my feelings, and seen
by my attentions "
"Go on!" said Bessie, in a tone just
calculated to reach the ears of her
"Well," said George, with a laugh
of embarrassment, "the fact is that
I love I want to marry-fe He broke
Bessie Hilton suddenly raised her
"I understand now, and I am
sorry," she said. "But you ought
never to have imagined such a thing
was possible. Why, you are old
enough to be my father. "My feeling
for you has never been anything but
sisterly, even daughterly. Why, you
are old enough to marry my mother.
Go and ask her, if you must get mar
ried," said the girl with biting scorn.
"Why, Bessie "
"It is useless, Mr. Raymond. Yoa
mean nothing to me at all."
"You entirely misunderstand me,"
retorted George, just as loudly.
"What I wished to announce to you
was this: your mother, to whom you
have referred me, has just promised
to become my wife, and I was trying
to break the fact that you are going-
M . .J J-..
xml | txt