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and a half, and when her eyes, wide and starry, proclaimed the ingenue
most. Amory was proportionately less deceived. He waited for the mask to
drop off, but at the same time he did not question her right to wear
it. She, on her part, was not impressed by his studied air of blasť
sophistication. She had lived in a larger city and had slightly an
advantage in range. But she accepted his pose--it was one of the dozen
little conventions of this kind of affair. He was aware that he was
getting this particular favor now because she had been coached; he knew
that he stood for merely the best game in sight, and that he would
have to improve his opportunity before he lost his advantage. So they
proceeded with an infinite guile that would have horrified her parents.
After the dinner the dance began... smoothly. Smoothly?--boys cut in
on Isabelle every few feet and then squabbled in the corners with: "You
might let me get more than an inch!" and "She didn't like it either--she
told me so next time I cut in." It was true--she told every one so, and
gave every hand a parting pressure that said: "You know that your dances
are _making_ my evening."
But time passed, two hours of it, and the less subtle beaux had better
learned to focus their pseudo-passionate glances elsewhere, for eleven
o'clock found Isabelle and Amory sitting on the couch in the little
den off the reading-room up-stairs. She was conscious that they were
a handsome pair, and seemed to belong distinctively in this seclusion,
while lesser lights fluttered and chattered down-stairs.
Boys who passed the door looked in enviously--girls who passed only
laughed and frowned and grew wise within themselves.
They had now reached a very definite stage. They had traded accounts of
their progress since they had met last, and she had listened to much
she had heard before. He was a sophomore, was on the Princetonian board,
hoped to be chairman in senior year. He learned that some of the boys
she went with in Baltimore were "terrible speeds" and came to dances in
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