Page:Our Philadelphia (Pennell, 1914).djvu/164

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patronesses too absorbed in their triumphs to notice the less fortunate straggling far behind.

Well, anyway, if honesty forbids me to call myself a success, it is a satisfaction to remember that I did not have to play the wall-flower, which I would have thought the most terrible disaster that could befall me. To have to sit out the German alone would have been to sink to such depths of shame that I never afterwards could have held up my head. It was astonishing what mountains of despair we made of these social molehills! I can still see the sad faces of the girls in a row against the wall, with their air of announcing to all whom it might concern: "Here we are, at your service, come and rescue us!" But there was another dreadful custom that did give me away only too often. When a man asked a girl beforehand to dance the German, Philadelphia expected him to send her a bunch of roses: always the same roses—Boston buds, weren't they called?—and from Pennock's on Chestnut Street if he knew what was what. To take your place roseless was to proclaim that you had not been asked until the eleventh hour. It was not pleasant. However, if I went sometimes without the roses, I always had the partner, I had even moments of triumph as when, one dizzy evening before the assembled Dancing Class, I danced with Willie White.

It is not indiscreet to mention so great a person by name and, in doing so, not presuming to use it so familiarly—he was the Dancing Class, as far as I know, he had no other occupation; and his name was Willie, not William,