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A Would Be Flirt

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"If a woman really is in love with Vier hnsband, she canuot expect to have a very good time at a dance." So spoke the dearest little woman in ill the world late one evening on relurniug frorn a pleasant entertainment igivíín by one of our neighbors, as she sank wearily into one of the big sofa cushions that adorned the conch of our room. I knew by the curious way she had acted during our short walk home that something was troubling her pretty head, so I preserved a discreet silence af ter the titterance of the above remark. She gave me a quick glance to notice the etïect of her words, and seeing me busily engüged in reruoving a bunch of white oaruations from the lapel of my dress coat she continued : "She may enjoy herself after a fashion, but in order to thrill as she did as a girl it is necessary to be interested more or less in somebody else. " Still I kept si leut, and gathering courage from pure lack of opposition she went on : "If I were only able to flirt, I could get along famously. I have often seen other women add this variety to their lives, and as far as I could ever find out no harm resulted. " "Pray do not abstain from any such enjoyrnent on my accoant, " I interposed. "Don'tflatteryonrself, my dear," she said. "I have the inner consciousness that I have tried and failed - yes, íailed atterly. " "Tried what?" "Tried to flirt, yongoose. I determined to try it just as aa experiment. I' 11 teil you all about it if you won't interrupt me and wil] be real good to me for the rest of my life. "Yes, I tried desperately to imagine myseii an i]l treated woman; that I hated you terribly, and finally to make myself believe that such a person as Geoffrey Gordon never existed, but to what an end ! Just as I fancied I was succeeding, you would bob up serenely into visión and there you wculd stay, no snatter how hard I tried to forget yon." Of late. after the many social functions we had attended, I had noticed a disposition tfn the part of my wife to answer only vaguely to my inquiries as to whether she had enjoyed herself at Mrs. So-and-so's musicale, or Miss Soruebody's reception, but I never supposed for a morneut there was anything serious on her ruind, as the above somewhat gloomy expression iudicated. So I tnrned all atteutiou to hear what might be called a confessiou. "Maybe yon would not be averse to being given au opportunity to use my insurance rüouey, or else a judge iu the divorce court i-Kight be prevailed upon to render hif decisión" - But here my remarks wore out short by a deinonstrarion tb at would hardly lookwell in words - in fact, I should be at a loss how to express such a manifestation of íeuiínine protestation. Vfheu she liad resnmed a state that made intelliiLnlity possible, she broke forth : "Now, Gc'VtVrey, that is too unkind for auytbing. lVheu I come to you to teil you all, yon stand there and make fun of me. Yon had better be careful, youug mau. ït may be worse than yon supposn. Yon know w.uat your favorita, Congruve, says Heaven hafh 110 ros iikelovetohatredturned, Nor heil a fury lilse a woman scornod. "So keep real goodtill I have finished. "Yon see, hef ore I was ruarried, whenever I weuí to a dauce, there was always sozao one - fonr or five iu fact - whom I thorougbiy liked, aud on whom I could pount to i'peak to me before the evening was over and with whom I could have a jlyasant cbat and dance. So, no matter i;ow cUstasteful my present partner mignt be, my auticipations were pleasant ppongh to make up for the presRnt. "There were r;8'tain men who perhap3 were not actually in love with me (she said this wir-h perfectly straight face), but who invjrlably feit disposed to drift in my dirpction, so that I was kept perpetually buoyed np while talking with the stupiö unes and absorbed after they did spe-vü; to me by delightful nncertaiuty as to yiiat the future might bring forth. Thai. of course, was before [ met you, dear. "When I go to iances now, I seem to lose remémbranos of the fact that I am married, and witn woman's vanity I begin to be pïifjfully aware that the very men who vould have stood on their heads had ï asked it in the past I could not iiouu. uu now to take the least interest ia me .ir to talk other than the dreariesi platitudes. They were paimfully poliwj, wouid advance toward me with tew commonplace remarks, aud when they favored me at a german with some glittering trinket, for which I nsed to be crazy, I feit as though it was an expressiou of charity, portraying that, having made my choice, I must abide by it and not expect any very great exertion on their part. "I drifted from bad to worse till I reached a state of desperation, and when I saw Mrs. Sweetly gazing fondly into Dicky Bobinson's eyesthe other eveniug I saitl tornyself, 'There isawoman who really lives, and the reason sbe does is because sbe forgets she is married. ' ■'Then it was, Geoffrey, dear, tliat I tried to forcé myself to forget tbat yon had over crossed my path - that is, of course, only when I went tosome social gatberiiig. You know you are so fond of your cigars. "Next to do was to flnd some suitable one on wbom I could bestow my affections. Finally I tliought I wou Id try Malcolm Wharton, wlioru I kriew to be of excellent farnily aud who three years ago wonld have given his head to have Etood No. 1 in my eyes. "It was at Mrs. Beekman 's reception that I determined to mako my flirtiug debut. So, about 9 p. m., when I knew you would be smoking with the gentlemen up stairs, I purposely myself in the path of my erstwhile acquaintance. Alalcolm, with such a gracious marnier that at first he was puzzled, aud then, being of a gallant naPure, he soon approached me with an air of attention. I astonished myself by the sprightly, not to say flippant, style of my couversation. My heart went pitapat from excitement, and I was constantly rehearsing to myself, 'Xow I must forget Geoffrey, ' and so I went on and on, deceiving myself into the belief that 1 was enjoying myself. "He became more and more confidential and fascinating, treating me in the fashion that men who are devoted to other men 's wives ordinarily assume. I tried to be all animation and really thought that the way he twinkled his uose in bunny fashion was quite interesting. He persuaded me to indulge in champagne several times, and I even took his arm to the Bopper room. There he was devotiou itself and complimented me in the most approved style. After staying some time in the supper room I proposed we should go aud hear the music, but he had evideutly had too much champange or something else to be reasouable, and so, to be consistent, I could but follow liim wheresoever he led. We at last found ourselves in the oonservatory and were seated behind a olump of palms when his conversation, which was commouplace enough, had a ring to it that sent the blood flyiug to my face. His voice sank almost to a whisper, giving me to uuderstand how miserable he had been in his later life and how I could fill that gap of woe. Now and then he would look up in my face to see if there was any evidence of sympathy that he thought should be there. "At last I had accomplisbed the very thing I had longed for - here he was at my very feet - and now that I possessed it I shrank from it in disgust. Each word of his feit like ice being forced down my back, I coukl not flnd expression to my thoughts, words froze on my lips and I feit as though the eyes of the entire room were on me. The feeling of disgust changed to one of mockery, and he, seeing the change in my manner, doubtless considered me sorious and became more effusive in his remarks and manifestations of love. "The words 'what a fooi yon are' seemed to haunt me, but still I had to sit tbere in cold blood and let him go ou making an utter fooi of himself, for there seemed to beno way to stop hira. "What I would have done I hardly know, for he had seized ruy hand as though he intended to crush every bone in it. I really think he would have attempted to kiss me, when you serenely entered the room, appeariDg as an oasis in a desert of torment. "I wrenched my hand loose andwalked over as calmly as I coultl to wliere you were standing and greeted you as complacently as was possible. You remeniber the night - yon were so worried about your stocks yon did not notice my agitation. "There, now, don 't you think I expiated my crime?" üf course there was but one wav to


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