MORE WAYS THAN ONE
Sub-deb discovers there are more ways of taming an errant hepcat than by dogging his footsteps
HONEY FIELDING scowled at the classic features of Julius Caesar as depicted in her Latin book. His gallant deeds in hither Gaul left her cold. In her opinion it was a pity that Brutus hadn’t made a bonfire of his dearest friend’s writings after he had seen fit to murder him.
She bent a bitter look through the window' upon James Henry Bates, Jr., who was busily engaged in waxing his skis in the yard adjoining her own. James Henry was tall for his sixteen years and fair to look upon. Too darn good-looking, thought Honey morosely.
Honey had regarded James Henry as her special property up until last September when Trixie Teasdale had swept like a smothering monsoon over West Plains High School. Trixie was dark and exotic. She affected a slightly synthetic southern accent and many jingling bracelets. And she had a penchant for Men. Especially for James Henry, class president and star member of the football squad. And he, the dope, thought Honey scornfully, had no better sense than to fall for that line, and had actually asked Trixie to go to the Christmas dance with him. The dance of the year.
Worse still, Honey had to drag her own cousin, just because her aunt and uncle had decided to take a trip during the holidays. When her aunt’s letter had come, asking if Ellery might spend the holidays with the Fieldings, Honey had protested vigorously but vainiy. Ellery was coming, and furthermore, her mother had decreed, Honey was to show him a good time and take him to the Christmas dance. She groaned aloud as she considered the disgrace of it. Her own cousin ! Just as though Honey Fielding, most popular member of the sophomore class, couldn’t get anyone else, even if James Henry had proved unfaithful.
Presently she was startled from her melancholy musings by the sound of stones being thrown against the wdndow, and observed her erstwfflile property signalling for her to come out. She favored him w'ith a cold look, but James Henry was not so easily dismayed. He continued his barrage, meanwhile indicating that he had urgent business to discuss. Honey affected a bored yawn and curled her long, blonde bob over her fingers.
The telephone rang, but she paid jio attention. She heard her mother answer it and say, “Oh, my dear, what a shame ! I’m so sorry. That changes everything, doesn’t it? Of course w'e’re disappointed. We had counted on it, you know.” Honey sighed. What did her mother know of disappointments.
Just because someone couldn’t come to
the bridge club or something. She decided that she might as well go out and see what James Henry wanted.
As she passed through the pleasant living room, her mother hung up the receiver. “Honey!
The most awful thing has happened. Ellery came down with the measles this morning. Now poor Aunt Carrie and Uncle El can’t go on their trip and Ellery will miss his holidays with us. Isn’t it a shame?” Seeing Honey’s face, she added, “I know you’re disappointed too, dear, I mean about the dance. But Stephen will be home tomorrow and he’ll go with you. And I wish you’d go out and tell James Henry to stop throwing those stones.”
Honey regarded her mother with hauteur. “Mother, it would have been bad enough to have to drag my very own cousin to that dance, but my brother! Honestly,
I couldn’t imagine such a foul thing. Besides, Steve thinks he’s so hot, now that he’s in college and ever’thing, that he wouldn’t even dance with us babies.”
Her tone was scathing, but Mrs. Fielding was busy making notes on a little pad and answered absently, “Oh, yes, he will. Stephen is always very obliging.”
“Mother!” Honey exclaimed passionately, “I don’t want to go to a dance with someone who is obliging! That dumb Ellery ! Measles, of all things! I mean the puerility of it!”
Mrs. Helding was sympathetic. “I know, dear, and I’m so sorry. But I’m sure you’ll have a nice time. You have your new dress and you know everyone, and Stephen is such a good dancer and an older boy is always popular.”
My new dress, thought Honey bitterly, as she
opened the front door. It would have been bad enough to have wasted it on that dumb Ellery, but now . . .
STEVE would probably criticize it and say that it was too daring for her. But was it neat! Honey cheered slightly as she remembered the foaming whiteness of it, the darling little ruffles cascading down the back of the skirt and oh, joy of joys, the strapless bodice. Her mother had considered it too sophisticated for her, but after all she was practically sixteen and parents couldn’t keep you in baby clothes forever.
Then she remembered that all this glory was going to waste. She sighed and greeted James Henry severely. “Listen, dope, what’s the idea of trying to smash all our windows?”
James Henry grinned. “Some people are so thick that you have to throw brickbats at ’em before they cometo. Howr’s for going skiing?” Honey shook her head. “I have to study my latin.”
He hooted. “Latin* Don’t you know’ that vacation starts tomorrow?”
“Some people are interested in learning something,” she retorted haughtily, “although I guess you wouldn’t understand that.”
“Aw heck, Honey, don’t be like that.” James Henry could be very beguiling. “What’s the matter with you anyway? You act like I was poison ivy. I never see you any more.”
Honey picked up a handful of snow and began molding a snowball. “I guess you must need glasses, then,” she informed him. “I haf to look at you every single day of my life.”
“I don’t mean in school, goof. I mean, I’ve asked you for a date a couple of times and you were always busy.”
“Maybe you think I sit around and wait for you to ask me for a date. I’ve got plenty of other things to do. Besides, 1 don’t like secondhand invitations, thank you.”
“Oh, f’r heaven’s sake, are you still harping on that one? Everybody can make a mistake. Trixie simply forgot that Butch Evans had asked 'her to go to that game with him before I did, so of course she had to go with him. She’s always very decent about those things and she’s so popular it’s hard for her to keep hei dates straight. How’d you know I asked her, anyway?”
“Oh, Trixie was decent enough to tell me,” said Honey airily. “She’s very conscientious. She was so worried that you wouldn’t have anybody to take to the game.”
“She certainly was,” agreed James Henry eagerly. “Why, she even suggested I take you.”
“How sweet of her! Wasn’t it lucky that I got there at all, with Dick and Beans and Ted?”
Honey’s fine sarcasm was lost on James Henry. He grinned cheerfully. “I saw you. It was a good game. I missed out on the dance though, afterward, because I didn’t have a date and you couldn’t go stag.”
Honey affected surprise. “Oh, that’s right, you weren’t there, were you? You missed a good party. I hope Trixie has her dates straight for Saturday. It would be too, too bad if you missed that dance as well.”
“Oh, that’s all set. She told me last night. Say, by the way, who are you going with? Trix didn’t know.”
“She didn’t know,” Honey informed him coolly, “because I didn’t tell her. I don’t go around blabbing ever’thing I know, the way some people do.”
“Well, but who is it? You don’t have to act so mysterious.”
Honey molded her snowball carefully. “It’s nobody you know,” she said slowly. “He’s a friend of Steve’s.” As James Henry looked incredulous she continued, her blue eyes dreamy, “He’s tall and dark and vurry int’resting to talk to. In fact, we may not go to the dance at all. We may just stay home and talk.”
Inspiration is like that. But James Henry was unimpressed. “I think that’s a dumb idea, if you ask me,” he stated. “Gosh, sitting around all evening with nothing to do but chew the rag, when you can be out cutting a rug.” “Nobody did ask you,” said Honey loftily, “and I’ll thank you to mind your own business, Mister James Henry Bates, Junior.”
“Okay, okay. But this guy certainly must be a wonder. Though why you couldn’t say who you were going with, in the first place, is beyond me.”
Honey considered mayhem was justifiable. Curiously enough, she did not blame James Henry for forcing her into this unfortunate position. Her wrath directed itself toward Trixie. Trixie who no doubt had put him up to all this. And now she, Honey, would suffer. She would miss the dance because she had committed herself to an int’resting evening with a mythical Don Juan. Oh, it was just too poisonous! Why had she ever sought to shroud in mystery the disgrace of having to take Ellery. Hateful as his presence was, at least she could have gone to the dance. Why hadn’t she trusted herself to carry off the situation when the time came? Now even Ellery had failed her. She would save her dignity, but at what a cost !
HER MURDEROUS thoughts were interrupted by a languorous, husky voice. “Oh there you are, Jamie.” Trixie Teasdale, ravishing in a bright red ski suit, a rakish cap pulled over her dark curls, strolled into the yard. “I just dropped by to see if you’d like to go skiing. I have my car. I had some errands to do for Auntie and the snow is simply divine.” She seemed to notice Honey for the first time. “Of course if you’re busy . .
Manlike, James Henry was resentful of Honey’s attitude. Let a new girl come to town and all the dames had their claws in her. Trixie was a fine girl and Honey shouldn’t be such a sourpuss.
“I’m not busy,” he said briskly. “I think it’s a swell idea. Want to come along, Honey?”
This was the final outrage. Honey drew herself up to her five feet and her tone would have congealed flaming oil. “Thank you too much for your kind invitation, but I couldn’t possibly go skiing this afternoon. Besides, I wouldn’t think of riding
Continued on page 18
Continued from page 17
in a car, even if it is an old one. I'm patriotic.” Her exit would have done credit to Duse herself.
She watched their departure through the curtains of the living room window. Trixie seemed to have trouble starting her car. After a good deal of roaring of the motor they finally lurched off.
“Can’t even drive,” muttered Honey. “Old enough to drive that meat grinder and only a sophomore in High. Dumb !”
She withdrew into the depths of the davenport and sought to assuage her despair with refreshment. She selected several caramels from a large box and chewed reflectively while contemplating the bitterness of the world.
“Hi ! Where is everybody?”
Honey’s lethargy vanished. “Stevie !” she cried and bounded into the hall. “Gee, it’s swell to see you. We didn’t expect you till tomorrow.”
Steve Fielding grinned affectionately at his kid sister. He had the same crisp blond hair and deep blue eyes. “I managed to get away a day earlier. And it’s lucky I did. I brought you a Christmas present. Meet Pilot Officer Richard Southby of the R.A.F.”
And out of the shadows emerged the handsomest man Honey had ever seen. Tall, dark, gravely smiling, he extended his hand. “I am very happy to meet you and hope this isn’t too much of a shock to you. Steve said it would be all right.”
“Oh,” gasped Honey, “of course it is. But how —where—?”
“Dick and I came down on the train together,” Steve explained. “We got talking and he told me that he was going to spend Christmas alone. He doesn’t know anybody and he’s a long way from home. I didn’t think that was any way to spend Christmas, so here we are.”
“Why of course.” Honey struggled to regain her composure. “I think it’s a super idea. I was just a tiny bit surprised to see you, just at first. You see, I—”
Honey stopped abruptly. You can’t very well tell a person that you made him up and that the effect of seeing so dazzling a replica of Your Very Ideal actually stand before you—and in uniform, besides!—was astounding, to say the least.
“It’s awfully sporting of you, you know,” Richard Southby’s grey eyes were serious, “to take in a stranger like this. I’m afraid I forgot that it isn’t quite the thing to do, to come barging in on people unexpected. I—I hope your mother won’t mind too much.”
And even Honey, young as she was, caught the note of wistfulness in his voice. “Of course not,” she assured him. “Mom’ll be mad for it. She isn’t home just now, but she’ll be back any minute. We always have rafts of company at Christmas time. Mostly relatives. I think relatives simply curdle one, don’t you?”
“Some of ’em do,” Steve grinned. “Come on, Dick, let’s wash up.”
THF]Y took the stairs two at a time and Honey leaned against the newel to collect her reeling senses. Well, hit me on the head and call me a nail, she thought, is he super-duper or is he! An Older Man—he must be at least twenty-two—and in uniform! Her mind dwelt pleasantly upon the uniform and its effect upon her friends, acquaintances and Trixie. Why, it was like having a dream come true, only better. She saw herself in her white dress, floating into the gym on Saturday night, her hand lightly touching his sleeve. She would introduce him casually. “Miss Teasdale, Pilot Officer Southby,” and he would murmur something polite and turn right back to her and say, “This is our dance, right?” Pie would dance divinely, of course, and he would . . .
“Hey, Honey,” Steve’s voice broke in rudely on her musing, “got anything to eat? We’re starved.” Even supermen must eat, supposed Honey. Reluctantly she abandoned her delightful reverie and went out into the kitchen. She returned bearing chocolate cake, milk, and fruit, on a tray. She set it down on a low table before the open
Continued on page 24
More Ways Than One
Continued from ])agc 18—Starts on page 16
fire. Her guests proved to be appreciative.
“Say, Honey,” said Steve, between mouthfuls, “who’s the new number in town?”
His sister raised delicate eyebrows, in the approved fashion. “New? Where’d you see her?”
“Down at the soda saloon when we stopped for smokes. She had on a red ski suit, and what eyes! If memory serves me right she was with your own James Henry. What’s the matter, Honey? Losing your grip on Old Faithful?”
“Oh, her.” Honey’s disdain was superb. “You mean Trixie Teasdale. She’s here visiting her aunt. She thinks she’s terribly top-drawer on account of she drives an old jalopy. She goes to High, but she’s a lot older than we are.”
Steve grinned. “You and the torrid Trixie don’t seem to be too congenial. It couldn’t possibly be James Henry? Looks like when that cookie mows ’em down they stay mowed. What do you think, Dick?” Dick Southby smiled at Honey. “I don’t think Miss Honey has anything to worry about on that score. The young lady in question wouldn’t appeal to me. Bitboldish.”
Miss Honey! Oh, if that drip Jamie could only hear that!
Steve roared. “Boy! I’ll say. Was she ever giving us the eye behind James Henry’s back! Me, I fancied the gal. I’d like to meet her.”
“Don’t worry,” said Honey grimly, “she’ll see to that. She proh’ly asked Jamiewhoyouwereand she’ll—” The door bell rang. “That’s Mom, I guess. She always forgets her key. Hetty’ll open the door.”
Steve and Dick rose respectfully to greet the lady of the house, hut instead of Mrs. Fielding’s energetic tones a throaty contralto smote on their ears. “Oh, don’t bother her if she has guests. I just stopped in to—” Hetty was ushering the visitor into the living room. Honey rose and resigned herself to the inevitable. Trixie, all smiles and apologies, rushed up to her.
“Darling,” she gushed, “I had no idea you had guests. But I’m so upset. I couldn’t even go skiing. I’ve lost my best compact and I’m trying to think of every place I might have dropped it. You haven’t seen it, have you, in the yard or someplace?” Since Trixie never frequented either the Fielding’s yard or their home, this was purely a rhetorical question. Honey ignored it and introduced the two boys.
Trixie fluttered her amazing eyelashes appropriately. “How nice knowing you both,” she cooed. “Honey has been keeping us all in suspense about whom she was taking to the dance on Saturday, but now that I’ve met you, I can see why.” She smiled devastatingly. “My goodness, Honey, but you’ll be popular, having two such attractive men.”
Honey could have slain her and burned the body without a qualm. She glared at the astonished Steve and said, very fast. “Steve may not be able to go. He hurt his foot, play-
ing basketball. But Mr. Southby and I will prob’ly drop in for a while.” That imperturbable young man, she noted gratefully, seemed equal to the situation. Older Men certainly had something! He smiled gravely. “Of course,” he said, “I’m not up on your latest steps, but I manage to keep off my partner’s feet.”
Trixie flashed him a dazzing smile. “Oh, Honey and I can easily teach you, can’t we, Honey?” She turned to her seething hostess. “We must fly a lot—that is if Jamie’ll let me.” She laughed deprecatingly. “He simply hates for anyone to cut in, but after all Mr. Southby doesn’t know any of the others and we want him to have a good time. And it would be a shame for your brother to have to sit out all his dances alone, if he decides to come.”
“But you mustn’t spoil Jamie’s evening,” Steve reminded her with a grin. “It wouldn’t be right to sacrifice his fun just to give us a good time.”
“Oh, that’s all right,” Trixie assured him, unabashed. “I’ll fix it up.”
I bet you will, thought Honey grimly. Aloud she said, “I haven’t seen your compact, Trixie. I guess you must’ve lost it some other place.”
“My compact, oh, yes,” replied Trixie vaguely. “Well, I guess I’ll have to he going. I’ll see you all on Saturday. Don’t forget, it’s a date.”
AFTER the door had closed on the • sultry Trixie, Steve exploded. “Say, what is this, anyway? Who’s going to a dance? Where? What’s she talking about?”
Honey sat down. She looked first at her brother and then at Dick, and decided that she might as well tell all. This intrigue was getting her down. So she told them about her humiliation at having Ellery foisted upon her, her evasions about admitting her shame, and his subsequent measles.
“And where did that leave me?” she concluded hotly. “Nobody would have believed me. They would have said I couldn’t get a bid, so I simply had to make up something. And now Trixie is out to get you both. Of all the nervy things, to come rushing in here! A lost compact ! Nuts!”
Steve shouted with laughter. “Of all the crazy kids! What difference did it make who took you to the dance?”
“Oh, Steve, you don’t understand,” said Honey impatiently. “Trixie has
Continued on page 26
If you have received notice that your subscription period is nearly completed, this is to remind you of the necessity of sending in your renewal order at once.
With literally thousands of new buyers and new subscribers for Maclean's every month, even our constantly-increased press-run seldom leaves us with any copies for subscribers who have neglected to renew.
To make certain of the continued receipt of your favorite Maclean’s, your renewal order should be mailed to us promptly when you receive the “expiration” notice.
The date when your subscription expires is shown on the last line of the address label on your magazine.
Continued from page 24
simply been gloating all over the place because Jamie asked her. You heard her just now, saying how he never wanted any cut-ins—and here I was stuck with a sad apple like Ellery and then nobody at all.”
“I guess that makes you the answer to a maiden’s prayer, Dick,” said Steve solemnly. “Well, good luck, say we. I hope you mow ’em down. Maybe I’d better go with you, just in case the luscious Trixie gets a strangle hold on you. At that,” he concluded thoughtfully, “she’s not bad, not bad at all.”
“If you can’t see through her—” began Honey.
“I can see through her, sister dear, but she amuses me. Besides, I’m only trying to help you out.”
“I don’t need any help, thank you kindly,” Honey informed him. “Because if you mean Jamie, he can take ten Trixies to this dance and see if I care.”
“Of course not,” Steve soothed her. “Anybody can see that.”
On Saturday morning Honey washed her hair and set it in a smooth roll. She manicured her nails and was experimenting with some of her mother’s more daring polish, when Mrs. Fielding came in. “Dear, I’ve told you a dozen times not to use that bright polish. It isn’t fitting for a girl of your age.”
“I know, mother.” Honey’s tone was aggrieved. “But all the girls wear it and you always make me wear those sappy colors.”
“If you mean that Trixie Teasdale, I do not admire her taste in dress or manners,” replied Mrs. Kielding firmly. “And that reminds me, she was here again this morning. I didn’t know she was a particular friend of yours.”
“She isn’t,” said Honey grimly, removing the offending nail polish, “at least wasn’t until day before yesterday.”
“Oh, I see,” Mrs. Fielding laughed, “Richard Southby is very attractive, isn’t he? He’s going to the dance, too, Stephen tells me. I told you he would be nice about it. You seemed so upset because James Henry ...” “Mother, please,” said Honey desperately. “I’ve told you a million times I don’t care what that dope does. It hurts my eyes to look at him. I wouldn’t have gone to this dance with him if he’d begged me on bended knee. I just didn’t want to go with Ellery.”
But Mrs. Fielding heard the catch in her daughter’s voice and saw the glint of tears in the blue eyes. “Poor little lamb,” she said tenderly and kissed the shining blond head. “It’s awfully hard, the first time this happens. Run along and get dressed now. The boys will be home any minute. Oh, and there’s a box for you on your dressing table.”
It was an orchid. “Oh,” breathed Ploney, “oh,” and reverently laid it against her cheek. She combed her hair in a roll on top of her head and into this she fastened the orchid. She slipped her feet into silver slippers. If only the heels were a little higher; her mother had such old-fashioned ideas. Finally, she glimpsed herself in the glass, let her dress billow around her. A touch of lipstick and she was ready.
Catching up her jacket and mittens she drifted down the stairway to where the two boys were waiting. “Hot dog!” ejaculated Steve. “Will you look at little sister, all dressed up like a plush filly! And her teeth just out of braces!”
Honey felt that such brotherly reminiscences were ill-timed. “Steve, honestly,” she began . . .
“You look like a Christmas angel, Miss Honey,” Dick said gallantly. “Steve is only teasing.”
Honey beamed on him. He helped her with her coat and offered her his arm. How different from Jamie’s tactics. He always rushed in familiarly and shouted, “Move the feet, we’re late, now.”
THE DANCE was in full swing when they arrived. Honey felt every eye upon her as she stepped out on the floor with Dick. Trixie, superstreamlined in scarlet taffeta, danced by with James Henry. She waved effusively and called a cordial “hello there.” Honey found her manner distasteful. It smacked of familiarity. She could imagine in what a glowing manner Trixie had described her purely accidental meeting with the boys and how Dick had immediately become enamored.
She returned the greeting coldly and noted with satisfaction that James Henry seemed far from happy. He looked as though something had not agreed with him. Which in truth was so. He was experiencing an unpleasant sensation in the pit of his stomach on seeing Honey in the arms of the handsome stranger. Jealousy gnawed at his vitals, although he didn’t recognize it as such. He blamed it on the four hot dogs he had eaten that afternoon.
He returned his attention to Trixie, so cosily nestled in his arms, with sudden distaste. Her flaming red dress seemed suddenly flashy and in poor taste. Her bright chatter sounded tinny and sham. While his feet kept time to the furious blasts of sax and clarinet, his thoughts revolved slowly around one idea. He must see Honey and tell her, explain to her, somehow . . .
But Honey was mad at him, he remembered miserably. Her cool nod of greeting did not invite cutting in. She seemed totally absorbed. Wolf, he muttered scornfully under his breath.
“What did you say?” murmured Trixie, dragging her eyes away from the stag line. “You’re so quiet this evening. What’s the matter?”
“Aw, can’t a guy dance without gabbling all the time,” he growled. “You dames make so much noise you can hardly hear the music.”
Trixie jerked her head back indignantly. “Well, of all the rude things,” she began, and then saw that his eyes were following Ilorey around the room. Instantly she changed her tactics. “Was my Jamie-boy awful cross?” she crooned. “Did he have a bad old headache?”
James Henry shuddered. Had he ever been dope enough to fall for that kind of junk? “Aw, nuts,” he exploded. “O’mon over and get some punch. I’m thirsty.”
He dragged the reluctant Trixie off the dance floor as the music crashed
Continued on page 28
Continued from page 26
to a stop. He pushed his way through the crowd around the punch howl and returned with two glasses of viciously colored lemonade.
Trixie sipped hers reflectively. Out of the corner of her eye she could see Honey surrounded by a covey of breathless damsels and their escorts, the gravely smiling Dick in close attendance. Steve was nowhere to be seen. Suddenly a voice at her elbow said, “Lady, could you spare a dance,” and she looked up, startled, to find him grinning down at her.
“Oh,” she cooed, “you scared me most to death. I thought you weren’t coming. I haven’t seen you all evening.” Her eyes reproached him archly.
“I’ve been saving my bad foot,” he told her, “just to dance with you. That’s what I came for, you know. To know you better.”
Trixie rewarded him with one of her most devastating looks. She purred, “You mustn’t say such things, unless,” and she leaned very close, “you mean them.”
“And you, my dear,” countered Steve, “mustn’t play with fire. I’m a bad man to trifle with.”
Trixie laid her hand on his arm. “I think,” she whispered, “I’m going to like you.”
Honey had been watching her brother with contemptuous scorn. The idea of his acting that way in public! Why, Trixie was practically sitting in his lap and he seemed to like it! Her eyes met his indignantly, as they passed on the dance floor, but Steve’s were inscrutable.
Later, as they met at the punch bowl, Trixie gushed, “Oh, Honey darling, I promised Mr. Southby some dances this afternoon and I simply haven’t had a minute. WThy don’t we fly the next one?”
But Honey only opened her blue eyes wide and said, “Why, Trixie, you told me .Jamie didn’t like to fly dances, when he was with you. Don’t you remember?”
A little later Steve cut in on his sister. “That wasn’t like you, Honey,” he rebuked her. “I heard you talking to Trixie before. After all, you needn’t rub it in. That wasn’t nice.”
Honey raised stormy eyes. “I know it wasn’t nice, but has she been nice? She’s done everything to—”
“I know that,” Steve interrupted gently. “I’ve been dancing with her and 1 know exactly the sort of girl she is. She’s so obvious it isn’t even amusing. You are absolutely right about that. But two wrongs, you know . . . and poor James Henry is miserable. Give the guy a break.”
“He can cut in, can’t he?” began Honey.
“Oh, no, he can’t, my little plum. The poor sap has been trying to contact you all evening but you’ve just been too busy. You women are ail the same. Fifteen or fifty, you love to see a guy squirm. You imagine all kinds of grievances and then—”
“Well, 1 like that!” Honey’s tone was righteously indignant. “Imagine, my eye ! Mister James Henry Bates, Junior, needn’t think he can push me around, just because he’s lived
next door to me all his life. If he’s so crazy about Trixie, let him have her. What do I care!”
“Trixie,” Steve assured her, “is the white man’s burden to James Henry right now. She’s lost her strangle hold on him and she knows it. But she’s going to try and hold on to him as long as possible. So why not step in and do your stuff? Show ’em that you can get your man any time you feel like it. Walk right off with him, under her nose. Will her face be red when she tries to explain that one !”
Comprehension dawned in Honey’s eyes. “Why, I never thought of that ! That would show her up plenty, wouldn’t it? After bragging about how crazy he is about her. You’re pretty smart, Steve.”
“Well,” grinned Steve, ruefully, “there are more ways than one to swing a cat. And James Henry is a pretty good egg, you know.”
Honey returned his smile. “W-e-1-1 —” she said slowly.
“May I cut?” mumbled a voice at her shoulder, and Master James Henry Bates, Jr., presented himself, red of face, but courtly of manner.
TTONEY surrendered herself to his -H arms and fell into step. They circled the room twice before he summoned enough courage to speak. “Look, Honey,” he began hesitatingly, “I’m an awful dope. You— you don’t really like that guy, do you?”
His pleading eyes were very near her own and Honey felt herself weakening. After all, she’d known him a long time and her thirst for vengeance against Trixie faded before the honest wish to be friends again. Dick was aw’fiy interesting, but he wasn’t Jamie. Jamie, whose teeth had been cut on almost the same ring as her own. Jamie, who had helped her with her arithmetic and had taken splinters out of her finger. Jamie, who had fought for her when occasion demanded it and whose black eye she had poulticed. Steve was right. Jamie was a good egg.
And it suddenly occurred to Honey that Steve had been much smarter than she had given him credit for. In her hurt pride and humiliation she had wanted only one thing. To get even with Trixie! Good old Steve! He had tried so hard to make her see it the right way and she had been a zombie!
“Honey,” urged James Henry, “please don’t be mad at me, any more. I’m awful sorry; honest. I don’t know how I ever, I mean—” His honest young face was flushed with earnestness. His eyes were Jjegging for forgiveness and understanding. He was eating humble pie, honorably and without a word of blame against the false Circe who had been the cause of this unpalatable diet.
Honey understood. She raised her eyes and met his steadily. “Okay, dope,” she said softly, “let’s drop it.” He squeezed her hand gratefully and took a firme” grip on her slender waist. The music suddenly had rhythm, the floor was perfect. It was a swell dance !
“C’m, pal,” he cried joyously, “let’s give !”