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and the inevitable looming charmingly close. The future vista of her
life seemed an unending succession of scenes like this: under moonlight
and pale starlight, and in the backs of warm limousines and in low, cosy
roadsters stopped under sheltering trees--only the boy might change, and
this one was so nice. He took her hand softly. With a sudden movement he
turned it and, holding it to his lips, kissed the palm.
"Isabelle!" His whisper blended in the music, and they seemed to
float nearer together. Her breath came faster. "Can't I kiss you,
Isabelle--Isabelle?" Lips half parted, she turned her head to him in the
dark. Suddenly the ring of voices, the sound of running footsteps surged
toward them. Quick as a flash Amory reached up and turned on the light,
and when the door opened and three boys, the wrathy and dance-craving
Froggy among them, rushed in, he was turning over the magazines on the
table, while she sat without moving, serene and unembarrassed, and even
greeted them with a welcoming smile. But her heart was beating wildly,
and she felt somehow as if she had been deprived.
It was evidently over. There was a clamor for a dance, there was a
glance that passed between them--on his side despair, on hers regret,
and then the evening went on, with the reassured beaux and the eternal
At quarter to twelve Amory shook hands with her gravely, in the midst of
a small crowd assembled to wish him good-speed. For an instant he lost
his poise, and she felt a bit rattled when a satirical voice from a
concealed wit cried:
"Take her outside, Amory!" As he took her hand he pressed it a little,
and she returned the pressure as she had done to twenty hands that
evening--that was all.
At two o'clock back at the Weatherbys' Sally asked her if she and Amory
had had a "time" in the den. Isabelle turned to her quietly. In her
eyes was the light of the idealist, the inviolate dreamer of Joan-like
"No," she answered. "I don't do that sort of thing any more; he asked me
to, but I said no."
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