The Winning of Yolande

Concluding Story of the Series

Ethel Watts Mumford February 1 1918

The Winning of Yolande

Concluding Story of the Series

Ethel Watts Mumford February 1 1918

The Winning of Yolande

Concluding Story of the Series

Ethel Watts Mumford

MRS. CHALLONER and Yolande Folsome stood before a fulllength portrait that occupied the

place of honor in the Salle Descartes. The room was crowded with the aristocracy of Paris, both of beauty and birth. Mile. Guiry of the Renaissance elbowed the haughty Duchess d’Egremont. Jolivonne, the danseuse, obscured with aigrettes the view of S. A. the Princesse Ivonne of Argentine. All classes were one in admiration of the genius of Raphael Gaule, portrayer par excellence of feminine charm and loveliness. The exhibition appealed to Smart Paris, and Smart Paris was there in its best furs, laces and pearls, quite as much “on the line” as the masterly paintings that adorned the grey walls. Mrs. Challonei glanced from the girl at her side to her framed semblance. The likeness was amazing. There was the same satin-soft hair, gold-bronze in color, waving back from an ivory brow; the same short straight nose; the mouth, a trifle full, and very red—a generous, unselfish, loving mouth ; there were the selfsame deep, violet eyes, drooping a little at the corners, and following the long oriental eyebrows by a touch of darkened color. The girlish figure stood revealed in youthful elegance; and the slender hands, in spite of their delicacy, hinted at a clasp vigorous and warm.

“Yolande,” Mrs. Challoner exclaimed, “it’s a real triumph, such a portrait as that It’s marvellously you!”

Yolande smiled and nodded. “Isn’t it?” she assented. “Mother is going to have Paula painted too, when she comes over for her trousseau,”

Mrs. Challoner colored. The mention of either of her former charges, both of whom had shown extraordinary ability to elude her chaperonage and acquire husbands of their own choosing, made her feel uncomfortable.

They had been so absorbed in contemplation of the portrait that they had not noticed the attention they were attracting. Mrs. Challoner suddenly discovered herself and Yolande to be centrés of interest. There were little whispers and nodding of heads as the dilettanti compared the painted presentment with the beautiful original. Yolande, too, became self-conscious; but it was not the homage of the crowd that gave her pause—wholesale admiration was something to which she was accustomed. The flush that suddenly mantled her cheeks surprised her, and the strange perturbation seemed to emanate directly from the ecstatic gaze of a young man, stationed across the room.

r I ' 0 be sure, he was one of many who *■ gazed with evident approval, but the look was different. She had a sudden impulse to bow, a flash of half-recognition. Then she realized that the young man was a stranger. He was tall, very tall for a Frenchman, and blonde as a

Saxon. Had he worn a wolf skin and thong sandals he might have posed as a young Goth. But modern custom had clothed him in the garb of the day-afterto-morrow. He wore a Vandyke beard and a short mustache that glitterd like spun gold where the overhead light of the gallerie fell upon him—a most glorious young Goth—and his eyes cried aloud across the pressing throng that he had, then and there, laid his heart before the little feet of the girl from over seas.

Yolande was puzzled. Surely she must know him—there was something very familiar. But how forget such an appealing personality and retain only a vague feeling of “having-seen-before?”

The young man moved nearer. His eyes seemed to plead for recognition. Yolande stiffened and turned away, the blood crowding to her temples, a strange,

heavy throb in her heart. She slipped her hand through her chaperone’s arm, as they turned toward the exit.

“Permettez, Madame.’’ The yellowhaired young giant stood bowing before Mrs. Challoner, holding in his hand her fur scarf which had slipped from her shoulders in her passage through the press of visitors.

Mrs. Challoner smiled her thanks, and hesitated. Surely she knew him. Or was she mistaken? , She looked again and realized that she did not—doubtless some fancied resemblance. She also realized that, while the furs were offered to her hand, and the impressive bow was addressed to her, the eyes of the stranger were fastened upon Yolande with the look she had learned to know and dread.

“A thousand thanks,” she said hurriedly with a nod of dismissal, as she steered

toward the door. Calling a taxi, she bundled in her charge and seated herself beside her. As the cab started she had a hurried view of the handsome youth as he stood on the steps of the Salle Descartes with a look at once disappointed and respectful. “Do you know that man?” she asked suddenly.

“What man?” Yolande inquired, coloring.

“The one who gave me back my scarf,” the chaperone particularized.

“I thought I did,” said Yolande slowly, “but I don’t.”

“That’s odd—I had that impression too,” Mrs. Challoner acknowledged. “I wonder now—’’

SHE erased him from her mind and conversation, but not for long—no longer, in fact, than until the prompt arrival of Mr. Benjamin Loomis to take them out to dinner.

“Well, little chaperone, another ten strike, I opine;” he greeted them in his booming voice.

Mrs. Challoner looked at him in amaze-

ment and trepidation. The big benevolent Powder King seemed to be possessed with occult powers—and had he not seen her out-generaled by Cupid on two occasions, that were not disastrous only because Chance had made them the reverse?

“What do you mean?” she quavered, fear in her sapphire eyes, as they entered the limousine.

“Mean?” he rumbled comfortably. “Well, that my very moneyed young friend, Pierre Déjol, has discovered your lovely Yolande, and has held me up for an introduction.”

“Déjol?” ^repeated Miss Folsome and Mrs. Challoner in one breadth.

“Yes, Déjol,” reiterated Mr. Loomis. “Don’t pretend to forget him, either of you, for he isn’t to be forgotten. He’s a French version of a football idol, and about the liveliest business man in Paris. I happen to know—we both manufacture powder.” At which apparently innocent remark the big man chuckled again.

"Indeed,” said Mrs. Challoner, guiltily, remembering the retriever of her furs.

“Oh,” said Yolande Again she felt a sudden stopping of her heart, an inexplicable, half-frightened thrill.

“And here we are at Paillard’s,” Mr. Loomis announced, “and I’ll bet a hat Déjol is there now. pawing the air. I hope you’ll be delighted to meet him, because the chances are you can’t help yourselves. If I didn’t fix it for him, he’d blackmail somebody else. After all,” looking full defiance into Mrs. Challoner's eyes, “I’m on the side of Cupid, you know.”

THEY entered the little chopped-off corner entrance and found themselves in the brightly lighted restaurant, being conducted to upholstered seats along a mirrored wall.

A tall form rose to greet them, towering above the groups of diners like a lighthouse on the sand—Déjol. He was superbly unconscious of his physical proportions, making not the slightest effort to conceal his joy at the meeting, and, the presentations over, he plurtfeed into explanations.

“I see your portrait first, Mademoiselle. I fall in love with that,” he prologized. “Then I see you —ah, I make to find out who you are and whom you know. So I go straight to the de-tec“Detectives!” exclaimMTS. cnauiraet.

He smiled. “Surely, the Prefecture must know who all foreigners are. I follow you in your taxi to the Elysee Palace Hotel. There I learn your name and country. Then I fly for information to my friend, Grosjean of the Police. ‘Yes,’ say he. ‘The Mademoiselle have been here with Madame, her mother. Monsieur is a rich manufacture of armor plate for battleships. Then Madame Folsome she absent to home.’

“ ‘Home,’ ” he repeated beaming. “That mos’ beautiful English word! Then comes Madame Challoner to represent les convenances—what you call Mrs. Grundy.” He bowed politely to the revered lady’s representative. ‘Whom do they know, my friend?’ I cry. ‘It is importance that I shall know them at once. Whom do they know, whom, too, I know?’ ‘Ah,’ say Grosjean, ‘there is le Député Lépine, and there is the de Mailles of St. Germain, and there is also the Monsieur Loomis, who is dévoué to the beautiful Madame Challoner with the hair of snow!”

Mrs. Challoner started and turned scarlet. Mr. Loomis laughed and sought her hand under cover of the table. Déjol

continued his narrative, which he now addressed exclusively to Yolande.

“‘Ha!’ say I, ‘Monsieur Benjamin Loomis—good! excellent! My friend, you have save me! He shall present me to this wonderful Mademoiselle, who has with one glance captured my heart for ever.’ I go to him; I demand. Here I

TT was Yolande who now started and A colored, but she did not seem displeased. Her eyes flashed to the speaker’s tense, earnest face, and their message was at least one of interest.

“You will permit, therefore, that I pay my, what you call ‘addresses’ to the young lady, chère Maclame? Doubtless my good friend here has told you that I am ver’ well feexed—yes, even as your fortunes in America are counted. My father was a chemist, one of the first inventors of France, I, too, am an inventor. I am already decoré,” he proudly thumbed a little scarlet button in the lapel of his coat. “My people are honorable people, and I am myself ‘pas mal’—‘some boy,’ as you would say in your idiom. Mademoiselle, you will pardon my speaking so—how is it you say?—‘off the bat’ but I cannot help myself.” He smiled again his magnetic smile.

“M. Déjol is all he says he is,” Mr. Loomis endorsed, “and that’s going some, as you may have noticed. And now, my good Pierre, that you have got your pro-

posal off your heart before the soup goes by it, let’s have dinner.”

With any other quartette such a beginning would have spelled a restraint. But not so with Déjol. To Mrs. Challoner, the openness of the attack was a reassuring novelty. Yolande for a moment was somewhat overpowered, but as her extraordinary cavalier did not again refer to his intentions, and devoted himself to the task of being entertaining, she regained her composure and found herself drawn to him by the sheer vigor and charm of his personality. Déjol talked wittily. His odd use of slang phrases, laboriously acquired, was amusing; and his total lack of vanity left him free to laugh at himself with unaffected heartiness. Dinner over, he summarily took charge of the party.

“My automobile is waiting,” he announced. “It is now my evening. We will run out to Enghien. We will see the fireworks and look at the fools who play baccarat—bon!"

THE car was a huge Pullman affair, lavish in every detail—-two men on the box, robes of costly furs, fittings of vermeil and upholsterings of old brocade. They sped on cushioned springs, swaying gently where other vehicles tipped and

Bending devotedly toward the beautiful American, he continued his intimate chat. What did she like? Travel or

chateau life? What was her favorite color, and what the flower she preferred? And did she like dogs? What kind of dogs? Was she fond of athletics? And did she like to sit up late?

Mrs. Challoner would have broken up the tête-à-tête, but Cupid had a powerful ally in the big man with the snapping black eyes and the rumbling voice. If, as the astute chief of police had stated, he was ‘‘dévoué to Mme. Challoner” he was certainly doing everything in his power to live up to the reputation.

THE quartette was never seperated, yet it resolved itself into two duets, whether they sat sipping champagne on the terraces overlooking the little lake of Enghien, or stood behind the tense groups of gamesters at the tables. On the return journey they were all somewhat silent, a trifle weary.

The indomitable Déjol had very quietly possessed himself of Yolande’s hand. She struggled a moment, and then relaxed her fingers to his palm. There was nothing forward even about that forward action, it was as earnest and open as his handsome face and kind eyes. Somehow she found the contact very sweet, very soothing. She realized that she was tired; that the young Goth beside her seemed a tower of strength and protection. She closed her eyes with a little sigh of content. When she opened them again the motor was rolling over the

pavements of Paris. They were nearing their destination.

SUDDENLY she gasped. Her glance had fallen upon an immense poster sign, illuminated by a row of electric buibs. An advertisement that placarded France from end to end, as familiar as the Gold Dust Twins, or Phoebe Snow of her home advertising. It featured the lower half of a man’s face, a bearded face with smiling lips that disclosed glistening and perfect teeth in a cordial smile, and beside it, in huge letters, “Poudre Dentifrice Déjol!”

The sight electrified Yolande. She sat up abruptly.

“Déjol!” she cried. “Look! Of course it was the poster we recognized. Oh!” The “Oh!” was a cry of consternation. But Déjol did not so interpret it.

“Yes,” he said gleefully. “As you see, one of my father’s chemical discoveries. But the Tonique Capillaire Déjol is all my own!”

“I told you we both manufactured powder,” Loomis hastened to say.

There was an ominous silence in the little palace on wheels.

“What is wrong? What is the matter?” Déjol inquired with naive distress as the car drew up in front of the hotel entrance. “Have I offend?”

“Nonsense!” exclaimed Loomis, grasping the situation. “I guess Miss Yolande doesn’t like to think of your face plas-

tered all over Paris. It does make it sort of common, I suppose.”

“Oh,” their host beamed. “Is that it? Of course! I understand! You see,” he added pathetically, “I have no—what you call ‘women folks’ in your idiom—whose feeling I must consider; but that will be all right in the morning, you shall see. Bon soir; and a thousand thanks for your kind company.”

Benjamin Loomis turned an anxious inquiring glance on the little chaperone. Clearly he was calling for help but his despairing S.O.S. received no comforting reply. Her face was enigmatic—he sighed. He had hoped—just a little hope— that Mrs. Challoner was relenting.

With Déjol he sadly went out into the night as the ladies entered and disappeared in the elevator. In the salon of their suite the two women faced each other.

“Tooth powder!” gasped Mrs. Challoner. “Whoever would have thought! Of course, your mother, my dear, won’t care for you to keep up the acquaintance.” “Hair tonic!” added Yolande in a tragic whisper. “But, oh! I do like him," she murmured under her breath.

MORNING brought a huge basket of American Beauties, and noon deposited at Yolande’s shrine a miniature Pomeranian puppv with a gold collar. An avalanche of flowers for Mrs. Challoner bore a note in the impressive scrawl of Benjamin Loomis:

“Now, don’t boggle over tooth powder; it’s good powder. Let the bov have a chance. He’s a good boy—and, say! —I’m not bad myself—think it over." Luncheon time and the limousine brought Déjol, clean shaven!

“Ha,” he cried, showing all the wellknown impeccable teeth in a happy smile, “you see, now I am not known by ze powder no more. You like me so?”

And they did like him. Clean cut lips and strong, well-set jaws gave him an aristocratic air that had been wanting before.

“I have been thinking,” he plunged at once into the subject next his heart, “ ‘the night,’ as your saying goes, ‘carries the consul.’ Is it not so? I have thought perhaps the tooth paste will trouble Mademoiselle’s mother. Well, that will be all right—I fix. Déjol is good for dentifrice. but it is no name for Mademoiselle Yolande — Parfaitement! — and you will want ancestors. It is always so in the country democratic. That was what make Napoleon popular—he make washwomen duchesses, he make the gamins Maréchale of France, all right. I have ancestors tomorrow.”

In vain Mrs. Challoner summoned her dignity, in vain she strove to explain that “They really must not.” Déjol was no more to be withstood than a delightful, friendly young tornado. While they declined his invitations and refused his proffered plans, he whisked them off to Chantilly, and the races — they must, there were no “buts” about it. His horse was running, and he could have no possible chance of winning unless Mademoiselle saw him.

Forgotten was the fatal dentifrice. Who could think of such humble necessities in the face of Croesus Antinous? The big car brought them whirling to the course, through the lovely forest roads, with enchanting glimpses of the white chateau seated by its murmuring waterways, past the hidden sorcery of that fairy place—

“Le Maison de Sylvie”—on to the green sward of the race track, where it came to a stop in the club enclosure.

YOLANDE was in a daze of happiness.

It seemed to her that she had always known her wonderful Goth; had been his sister in play before he had become her lover. They talked incessantly, selfishly, personally, as lovers talk.

Mrs. Challoner, in spite of the wrath to come, was hypnotized into acquiescence. The friendly tornado had whirled her, too, off her feet. She was giddily careering through a world of luxury and laughter.

“That is my horse,” Déjol exclaimed suddenly, as a big golden chestnut was led from the paddock. “He is just the color of my capillaire—hair returner—so I named him Tonique. He will win, now you, Mademoiselle, are here—you shall see. For you he will go like, what you call, the slippery lightning.”

“Tonique!" The word brought the chaperone back to earth with a jolt. But Yolande was beyond such trivialities. She would have quaffed the tonique as Olvmpian nectar, and puffed her face with the dentifrice. She had become as unconscious to incongruities as Déjol himself.

“Tonique," she repeated, “what a beautiful, what a wonderful creature! I love him !”

“He is yours. Mademoiselle!” he cried rapturouslv. “Oh, it is a pleasure to give you that which you like. And may I call you Yolande? For I cabled to your father last night that I would beg your hand.” “Oh, goodness gracious!” exclaimed Mrs. Challoner. “Yolande!—what will your father say?”

Yolande paled and hesitated. Evidently she wished to say something, but could not. She turned frightened, protesting eyes on Déjol.

“Don’t you think,” she ventured, “you are rather—taking things for granted?” "Mais oui!" he exclaimed. “Oh, I know. You will say ‘No’ twice like that—‘NO!’ ‘NO!’ Then I shall threaten to go away, to enlist—to hunt lions—or something, and you will call me back and say, ‘Yes.’ But why waste all the time? I am furious with all the years I have not known you!” Mrs. Challoner intervened. “If you please,” she said, icily, “until Mr. Folsome authorizes your advances will you kindly speak of other subjects. I confess I am amazed. You are audacious, Monsieur Déjol.”

He was humbled.

“A thousand pardons!” he cried. “I offend—I am sorry—I am abject. It is because I am me, that I am so. Mr. Loomis will tell you I am not a ladies’ man. I am a hard-working inventor, manufacturer. I do not take many things to heart, but when-”

“Well,” the chaperone interrupted, “you will please not take Miss Folsome to your heart until you are given permission— but what is all the cheering about?”

Déjol jumped. “Mon Dieu ! It is the race! I had forgot. Mon Dieu!—what is that? Ah—ah, a—! Tonique! There, I told you! Your horse has won, Mademoiselle. It is the good omen—congratulations! I must kiss the hand!”

He kissed both—and two more protesting, reluctant ones belonging to Mrs. Challoner. A moment later Déjol was surrounded by a crowd of gesticulating young men, who showered him with slaps on the back and “han’-shaks.” Flushed Continued on page 80.

The Winning of Yolande

Continued from page 41.

with excitement he slapped and shook and “Mon Dieu’d” them in return. The two ladies retreated a little from the enthusiastic ovation. But they were not to be spared. Déjol swept down upon them, with a stream of presentations. “Le Marquis d’Errol,” “Le Comte d’Artois,” “Le Prince d’Arenbourgh,” “Le Baron de Gostac.” They must meet the real owner of the peerless Tonique, the wonderful Mademoiselle Folsome.

DURING the afternoon they moved with a train of titled squires. Evidently the magnificent tooth-powder Prince Charming was a very popular potentate. They had tea in the Bois on their way home, and were barely allowed time to dress before Déjol, accompanied by his warm-hearted sponsor, was back again, waving tickets for the Opera Comique and bubbling suggestions for dinner.

Benjamin Loomis looked at Mrs. Challoner quizzically.

“By this time, my dear Jeanne,” he whispered, “I hope you have realized that you are Cupid’s storm centre. He is

wherever you are—and this time it’s ¿5 cyclone. When you come to earth I shaljr be there to catch you.”

“I’m beginning to be afraid,” she muí I mured. ¡

“Forget it for to-night Leave thi ; chaperoning to me.” *

She laughed a little ruefully. “Ver 1 well,” she said. “I shall just have a go® j time, and hold you responsible.” ;

“I wish you always would,” he at swered, seriously; and meeting reproe . in her eyes, he hastened to changjr’ the subject. “I cabled a very strong el»', dorsement of our young friend to Fo»., some. He doesn’t know me, but he knovM'i of me; and I’ve known that lunatic lovait, for years. And if she’d spent her lift, hunting for the perfect husband she cou^,’ not make a better selection.”

Déjol was as good as his word. StÖP with his sponsor and witness in tow ht arrived, followed by a frail, elderlf gentleman in shiny black array.

“Ancestors,” announced Déjol, waving his hand at the elderly gentleman, who might have been a magician or an undertaker, but who, on unstrapping a legajr

looking pigskin case, proved himself a genealogist. He produced an illuminated parchment in the semblance of a tree whereon hung various golden globes labeled with euphonious names.

“Voici,’’ he cackled in an attenuated voice, as if his researches among ancient documents and tomes had filled his lungs with antique dust. “The family tree of the House of Des Jolais, corrupted during the Terror, for reasons of safety to Déjol.” He unrolled the arboreal monstrosity. “A Des Jolais was with the Norman Conqueror — the estates of Jolais are Norman—near Arques-la-Bataille. The remains of the chateau are still extant—” “And as good as bought,” interrupted the reinstated Des Jolais. “Ah, my dear Mademoiselle Yolande, that is some name for you, hein! ‘Yolande la Jolie Des Jolais.’ ’’

“Look,” he continued excitedly, “here we have married into Aquitaine, and there —that shield with the deinicats gules—the Royal House of Bavaria. Thät was an Austrian grand duchess, and this a princess of Spain. 1 will have all the portraits and the documents, shall I not, mon vieux?”

The “old one” assured him that all should be produced or traced.

“Ha!” Déjol carolled. “That will please the Democratic régime, will it not? All will be well. And whether it is true or not, I do not care, ma mie—and neither do you. This is only for the family of that great Jeffersonian simplicity—hein?”

His creative imagination had already peopled his world with an enthusiastic set of connections by marriage. Consequently the cable that was at that moment delivered to Mrs. Challoner was a rude “Have received absurd proposals. Leave Paris at once. Dismiss upstart tooth powder merchant instantly.—Folsome. ” SO hypnotized had they all been by Déjol’s ardor that the message came like a thunder-clap. The corners of Yolande’s mouth drooped. She rose silently and crossed to the window. Mr. Loomis snorted. Mrs. Challoner continued to reread the plain communication, as if she might find some word of relenting. Déjol’s face went white, then his eyes slowly darkened as the pupils distended, his big jaws set, his golden hair seemed to stiffen with anger.

“Upstart—hein!” he exploded. “What of it? My father was a great chemist— I am a great chemist. We have given to the world what will help the world. We give them health and the cleanliness. Does he think that it is better to invent dynamite and lyddite—or to make plates for the warships, or guns to kill—hein? The fool! If he is your father, my dearest, still I must call him so. Ha ! It makes me laugh. I could have such— what you call, renown, too—if I were not first of all a human man. Do I make public my process for making the Déjol silent big gun? No! Do I permit to make my ‘projectile Déjol’—that would tear his, this Folsome’s, little paper armor like so much gold leaf? No!—a thousand times. But patent, I do. That no other shall ever perpetrate upon this world, so mangled, and torn by war, these so deadly things—no! Me, and before me, my father, work for the good, the help of mankind. Our money has not come from blood and tears. Millions can go by—I will not take them from engines of de-

struction. No! We are upstarts, then— well, we at least start—up!”

He stood erect and glowing — pretax chevalier of a newer and saner code of honor. Yolande turned toward him with a little cry, holding out her arms. He moved as if to clasp her to his heart, then with a courtly bow, he bent and kissed her hand.

“First, I must cable your father, Mademoiselle, that I care not one—what yon call damn—for his message. That I shall marry you at once—e-me-di-ate—in Eng-

MRS. CHALLONER spoke. Her voice had a far-away sound, her eyes were wide and fixed on the face of Benjamin Loomis, whose brows were drawn together in a frown. “Then this ‘projectile Déjol,’ if it were on the market, would ruin Mr. Folsome, wouldn’t it?”

The portent of her question dawned slowly on Benjamin Loomis; but with the instantaneousness characteristic of him Déjol had seen the point.

“Oh, ho, oh!” he carolled in jubilation. “She have found it, Mrs. Challoner, she have found it, the beautiful blackmail! Oh, mon ami!” He seized Mr. Loomis and shook him. “Cable quick—that the procédé Statol—is mine. He knows of it, they all do though they can find out nothing. Tell him I will forget mankind for the one woman. Tell him I will at once the manufacture begin. He is ruin—flat ruin—his armor plate is as good as being not at all ! Oh, oh ! Mme. Challoner, how can I thank you for the so beautiful blackmail?”

Suddenly Mr. Loomis began to gurgle, the gurgle became a rumble, the rumble turned to a roar. With head thrown back and tears streaming from his eyes, he laughed, like Olympian Jove, and gasped for breath, and laughed again.

“Jeanne!” he managed to ejaculate, “Jeanne, who’s for Cupid now? Oh, ho— the—the Chaperone! Ho, ho!” He got to his feet, rocking with mirth.

“It’s all over but the shouting,” he announced. “Just leave it to me! Yours, Déjol! Yours, the Statol process? And I never knew! Oh, ho, I’ve got to make Folsome come across or you’ve got me ruined, too! Your confounded Statol would make the Folsome steel works look like thirty cents.”

They started toward him, contrite, almost frightened. But he waved them back, still laughing.

“Leave it to me,” he boomed. “Lunch on me to-morrow noon — I’ll have that consent.”

HE did. He spread the cable messages of capitulation before them on the luncheon table, in the private room at Larue’s, where he convened his conspirators. Four glasses of champagne clinked above the articles of Peace Triumphant.

“And now?”—the blonde son of Gaul held out his arms.

Sweetly, quietly, Yolande crept into them. For an instant their lips met.

Mrs. Challoner turned away, her eyes were no longer sapphire cold, the violets had became dew wet. She met the gaze of the big man across the table, and scarlet roses flamed in her cheeks.

“Aren’t we all silly?” she said. “Let’s drink to Love’s Young Dream!”

“Love’s Dream,” echoed Benjamin Loomis, taking the hand that the defeated little chaperone unconditionally surrendered. “Our dream, too—yours and mine!"