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Annabel had many friends among men. "What cant it is to say friendship between man and woman is irnpossible I' ' she would cry, with flashing eyes. "What degrading cant I" with a flushing cheek. She liked the society of men. They gave her a new outlook on life. She would enjoy it if theyconflded their love aflfairs to her. So she said. Somehow they had not as yet given her that enjoyment. She was 22, with a piquant face and figure and a man of the world style of conversation that hall veiled an unfathomable innocence. It was a hot evening early in June, and one of Annabel 's friends had dropped in. They were sitting together in the miniatnre veranda, discussing a subject they had often discussed before. "One comfort about my man to man styleof friendship, " said Annabel, "one great comfort, is that one needn't be eternally bothering about one 's looks and that sort of thing, when one wants to have a rational conversation. I don't know anything more aggravating than to talk one's best talk to aman, as I did out at dinner the other day, and to find him obviously speculating as to whether one's hair's all one's own. Now, I don't think you or any other of my special chums would even notice if I wore a sack when you carne to see me. That's so ref reshing. ' ' "It is," said the friend. "For instance, some girls would be dreadfully put out if their shoe had a little hole in it, jnst at the tip, when a man was there. But you" - "Where?" and Annabel jumped off her lounge chair with one bound and passed her pretty feet under agonized inspection. For one with whom appearanoe was "no object" she was wonderfully shod. "I'm so sorry, " said her friend. "I didn't mean to imply that you had a hole in your shoe. Only that if you had it wouldn't tronble you in the least. " "But it would," said Annabel, with dignity. "I never said one would care to exhibit slovenliness to one's friends. And a hole wonld be slovenly. " They smoked in silence. "How do you define a man's friendship for a woman?" he inquired, after the pause had lasted a long while. Annabel took her time before answering. "I think," she replied at last rather slowly, "it means haviug her interests at heart so inuch that they could never bore you - so that her pain or happiness would always be to you almost more than your own. You would never hear her lightly spoken of. You wonld save her all you could. You would let nothing of hers be in jured. Where you could you would put velvet between her and the rough things of the world, as Carlyle said. " "Yes, but he spoke of his wif e. " Anuabel did not seem to hear the words. She was looking over the roofs, the appallingly uniform roofs of West Kensiugton, to where a golden haze hung iu the sky and wonderfnl dream musiowas being played and then blown into the balcony on a little soft June breeze. The gold sky was the light of the great dustyexhibitiou, f uil of rowdy Whitsuntiderevelers, and themusic was blaring frorn a brass band. But distanoe and the summer and the quiet hour caught it all up and left nothing of it but what was beautiful. It made Annabel feel restless. "I'm going in," she said suddenly, springiug to her feet. "Here goes for lighting the lamp. " And she whisked into her little drawing room with a moveinent anything but dreamy. Her friend followed resignedly, thongh he had been very oomfortable where he was. He was quite used to Annabel's frequent ohanges of mood, and by indulgiug in no such himself hs was of ten able to tire her out and to get down to the forlorn little entity behind the rnany poses. The lamp was a high concern on baniboo poles and quite bevond the reach of Annabel's 5 f eet of height. She goĆ­ a low ohair and preparad to climb npon it. "One moment," said her oompanion gravely. "We have decided that it is right to protect all that belongs to our friend. Now, thischairbelougs tomine, and will be more or less injurod by beingstoodupon, even by her. Therefore" - and he lifted her np. After 011e furious and unavailing twitch Annabel settled to the situatiou with surprising ease. She Ut the lamp and adjusted its red shade and said "Thank you" with great deruureness when he set her down. Thoy got themselves inro two armchairs. but she seemed to find conversation something of an effort. "Friendship has many advantages over - the other thing, ' ' he said at last. "Yes?" ' ' Yes. It has f ar less obligation abont ft. Now, 011e takes an interest in one's friend's work. How's it getting on, by the way?1' "Oh, much as usual!'" said Annabel. "But one doesn't feel it weighing on one's mind that she should have to work at all. Now, with one's sweetheart how different I She should eit all day in silk attire and cross her little hands in her lap if she liked. The wind should not be allowed to blow too roughly on her. Ridiculous, wouldn't it bef" "Degrading, " said Annabel stoutly. "Just so. Degrading. Then there's that absurd notion that women want taking care of. With one's friend the fiction doesn't have to be kept up. She goes alone to theaters and nieets one at the door, and there's no nonsense about having to see her home. She takes her own bus and off she goes. Now, if she were - not one'sfriend, she shouldn't go one step by herself. There would always be a tedious male creature at her side elbowing off the passersby and takiug every unnecessary care of her. Sounds oppressive, doesn't it?" "Yes," said Annabel. A little wistfulness had orept into her voice and some of the sturdiness had faded. "Then there's not that terrible demand for synipathy. One expects one's friend to fit in with one's own particular mood. just as one picks up a book that chimes in with it. If she doesn't happen to suit one day, off one goes. It isn't necessarily on one's mind that she may be in trouble of her own, or, if she is, she can say so. There's no need for the 'I will die ere she shall grieve' business. " He hummed the words with a Indicrous exaggeration. Annabel shrank a little. She ridiculed sentiment in public and clierished it as deeply in her heart as every other clever little feminine fooi in the world. "Now, with one's sweetheart," he said, watohing her, "one can teil she is sad whileshe isstill smiling her welcome. One knows every little trick of expression - almost every thought behind the ctirls There's no going off then without comforting. Out it must all come, and she must be petted into happiness again. Doesn't it sound puerile?" No answer from Annabel. The band at the exhibition was playing a particularly vulgar oomic song. It came in at the window softened to a melody straight from paradise. He thought he heard a little sigh. He came and leaned over the back of her chair. "The mutual society, help and comfort the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity, ' ' he said, speaking low. "How does that sound, Aunabel?" No answer. He knelt down by her chair and got hold of both her hot, small hands. "How does that sound - my dear?" "It sounds sweet, " she said in a voice that was only a breath. But he heard. "Is it as sweet as it sounds?" he asked.


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