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drove alluring red Stutzes. A good half seemed to have already flunked
out of various schools and colleges, but some of them bore athletic
names that made him look at her admiringly. As a matter of fact,
Isabelle's closer acquaintance with the universities was just
commencing. She had bowing acquaintance with a lot of young men who
thought she was a "pretty kid--worth keeping an eye on." But Isabelle
strung the names into a fabrication of gayety that would have dazzled
a Viennese nobleman. Such is the power of young contralto voices on
He asked her if she thought he was conceited. She said there was
a difference between conceit and self-confidence. She adored
self-confidence in men.
"Is Froggy a good friend of yours?" she asked.
"He's a bum dancer."
"He dances as if the girl were on his back instead of in his arms."
She appreciated this.
"You're awfully good at sizing people up."
Amory denied this painfully. However, he sized up several people for
her. Then they talked about hands.
"You've got awfully nice hands," she said. "They look as if you played
the piano. Do you?"
I have said they had reached a very definite stage--nay, more, a very
critical stage. Amory had stayed over a day to see her, and his train
left at twelve-eighteen that night. His trunk and suitcase awaited him
at the station; his watch was beginning to hang heavy in his pocket.
"Isabelle," he said suddenly, "I want to tell you something." They had
been talking lightly about "that funny look in her eyes," and Isabelle
knew from the change in his manner what was coming--indeed, she had been
wondering how soon it would come. Amory reached above their heads and
turned out the electric light, so that they were in the dark, except
for the red glow that fell through the door from the reading-room lamps.
Then he began:
"I don't know whether or not you know what you--what I'm going to say.
Lordy, Isabelle--this _sounds_ like a line, but it isn't."
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