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this a bit abrupt, he added: "But I like you." He cleared his throat. "I
like you first and second and third."
Myra's eyes became dreamy. What a story this would make to tell
Marylyn! Here on the couch with this _wonderful_-looking boy--the little
fire--the sense that they were alone in the great building--
Myra capitulated. The atmosphere was too appropriate.
"I like you the first twenty-five," she confessed, her voice trembling,
"and Froggy Parker twenty-sixth."
Froggy had fallen twenty-five places in one hour. As yet he had not even
But Amory, being on the spot, leaned over quickly and kissed Myra's
cheek. He had never kissed a girl before, and he tasted his lips
curiously, as if he had munched some new fruit. Then their lips brushed
like young wild flowers in the wind.
"We're awful," rejoiced Myra gently. She slipped her hand into his,
her head drooped against his shoulder. Sudden revulsion seized Amory,
disgust, loathing for the whole incident. He desired frantically to
be away, never to see Myra again, never to kiss any one; he became
conscious of his face and hers, of their clinging hands, and he wanted
to creep out of his body and hide somewhere safe out of sight, up in the
corner of his mind.
"Kiss me again." Her voice came out of a great void.
"I don't want to," he heard himself saying. There was another pause.
"I don't want to!" he repeated passionately.
Myra sprang up, her cheeks pink with bruised vanity, the great bow on
the back of her head trembling sympathetically.
"I hate you!" she cried. "Don't you ever dare to speak to me again!"
"What?" stammered Amory.
"I'll tell mama you kissed me! I will too! I will too! I'll tell mama,
and she won't let me play with you!"
Amory rose and stared at her helplessly, as though she were a new animal
of whose presence on the earth he had not heretofore been aware.
The door opened suddenly, and Myra's mother appeared on the threshold,
fumbling with her lorgnette.
"Well," she began, adjusting it benignantly, "the man at the desk told
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