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Page 66 text:
AFTER THE BALL WAS OVER “Jane, please find your brother. This is the fourth time he has been late for dinner this week, and this is only the fourth day of this week!” sighed Mrs. Roth. “All love-sick shieks must be dressed, even though they de- lay the family dinner. He has a date with his queen tonight. He makes me sick — in love with a different girl every week and thinks his line would catch every girl in the world.” “Shut up. A lot you know about me or lines,” shrieked Bob in her ears as he slunk into his seat at the table. “Yes, Grandpa!” This type of conversation continued through the meal and afterwards Jane and Bob went up stairs to finish his dressing. “Sis, will you please come and hook me up? This darn suit doesn’t fit at all.” “I guess your fond Margaret hasn’t seen you in that rig. It’s a shout!” “Aw, quit laughing. I know it’s awful, but we’ll have masques.” Jane, as a younger sister to this decidedly collegiate youth, suffered much from his superiority. She was a mere child to him and he regarded her youthful friends disdainfully, for he thought himself quite old and sophisticated. Jane decided she knew lots more than Bob thought. On overhearing a tele- phone conversation Jane had learned that Margaret was going as a ballet dancer with Bob as her Pierrot escort to the mas- querade, and that Bob was to call for Margaret at a quarter to nine. After looking appraisingly at himself for about a dozen times, Bob started to the garage, feeling confident that a girl like Margaret would surely fall for a line like his. But Jane, in the afternoon, had untwisted a wire that would delay Bob and allow her a few minutes. As soon as she heard Bob leave the room she ran to her closet, dragged out a gorgeous silver costume and hustled into it. Hiding it under a long black cape, she ran down the walk to the tune of the unpleasant things Bob was saying to the old bus. Arriving at Margaret’s yard she waited a minute until she heard a mysterious whistle from a tree a little distance from her. She ran over to it and a Pierrot [ 62 ]
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jumped from it. This was one of her friends who was helping her by taking Margaret and she was going with Bob in Margaret’s place. On hearing a honk at the gate, Jane whispered a few words to the Pierrot and hurried down to the car. “Oh! she looks more alluring then ever, the light of my lowly existence,” sighed Bob as he assisted her into the car. She gave him a coy glance, and drawling in imitation of Marge, cooed, “You dreat big booful mans looks so handsome.” When they arrived the floor was already full of clowns, Spanish dancers and weirdly dressed beings that would be hard to class. Whispers were heard from the stag line of, “Who is that?” “What a knockout!” and in a minute all were cutting in on the charming couple. Bob was her devoted slave all evening and inwardly cussed himself for not “discovering” her sooner. Why, she was de- cidely all there from the top of her brown hair to the tip of her tiny foot. Why couldn’t the other fellows let her alone and let him have her to himself? During intermission he took her out on a balcony and started “his stuff,” raving about her beau-t-i-f-u-1 hair and her lovely eyes, and begging forgiveness for his dumbness while she was so worldly-wise and so much above him. During all this she looked indifferent and disdainful. Inwardly she laughed at the sophisticated Bob but couldn’t help but be pleased with all these compliments. Occasionally she would add, “You’ll learn better, dear,” or “You’ve said that to other girls.” Looking at her with soulful eyes he softly quoted: “My love for you is like a growing flow’r, That waxes stronger hour by hour.” Though Jane wanted to squelch that awful brother of hers for this she sighed, kissed him lightly on his cheek and ran into the house. When he went back into the room they were beginning to unmask, but there was no sign of the ballet dancer. You can imagine Bob Roth’s surprise on discovering that the little ballet dancer in pink was Margaret Barham to whom he had paid no attention. [ 63 ]
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