Page:The Yellow Book - 01.djvu/188

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The Dedication

Harold.There you go again! I deserve them—[laughs harshly].It is my fault, I suppose, that it is the season; it is my fault that people give dinner-parties and balls; it is my fault, I suppose, that you don't go out as much as I do?

Lucy.Certainly not; although, as a matter of fact, I haven't been out one single evening for the last three—nearly four—months.

Harold.That's right; draw comparisons; say I'm a selfish brute. You'll tell me next that I am tired of you, and——

Lucy.Harold! don't, don't—you—you hurt me! Of course I never thought of such a—[she rises]—You are not, are you? I—I couldn't bear it!

Harold.Of course I am not. Don't be so silly.[He sits.]

Lucy.It was silly of me, I confess it. I know you better than that. Why, it's rank high treason, I deserve to lose my head; and my only excuse is that thinking such a thing proves I must have lost it already. Will your majesty deign to pardon?

Harold.[Testily.]Yes, yes, that's all right! There, look out, you'll crumple my tie.

Lucy.I am so sorry! And now tell me all about your grand friends and——

Harold.They are not grand to me. Simply because a person is rich or has a title, I don't consider them any "grander" than I—by jove, no! These people are useful to me, or else I shouldn't stand it. They "patronise" me, put their hand on my shoulder and say, "My dear young friend, we predict great things for you." The fools, as though a single one of them was capable even of forming an opinion, much less of prophesying. They make remarks about me before my face; they talk of, and pet, me as though I were a poodle. I go through my tricks and they applaud; and they lean over with an idiotic simper to the dear friend next to