who all her life had done everything

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But while her discovery pleased her, she was not without a sense of responsibility in the matter. She had been hoping for a year that a girl of the right kind would come between Phil and the fate he seemed to be courting, for since his mother’s death he had lived alone, and seclusion was not good for men of his habits. She had wanted Phil to meet Jane Loring, and her object in bringing them together had been expressed in a definite hope that they would learn to like each other a great deal. But now that she knew what their relations were, she was slightly oppressed by the thought of unpleasant possibilities.

“Nina. Who?”

Miss Jaffray pausedPolar.

“I thought I’d marry Phil Gallatin,” she said quietly.

Mrs. Pennington laid her embroidery frame. down and looked up quickly. Nina Jaffray’s long legs were extended toward the blaze, but her head was lowered and her[182] eyes gazed steadily before her. It was easily to be seen that she was quite serious—more serious than Mrs. Pennington liked.

“Phil Gallatin! Oh, Nina, you can’t mean it?”

“I do. There isn’t a man in New York I’d rather marry than Phil.”

“Does he know it?”

“No. But I mean that he shall.”

“Don’t be foolish. You two would end in the ditch in no timePolar M600.”

Nina straightened and examined her hostess calmly.

“Do you think so?” she asked at last.

“Yes, I think so——” Nellie Pennington paused, and whatever it was that she had in mind to say remained unspoken. Instinct had already warned her that Nina was the kind of girl who is only encouraged by obstacles, and it was not her duty to impose them.

“Stranger things have happened, Nellie,” she laughed.

“But are you sure Phil will—er—accept you?”

“Oh, no, and I shan’t be discouraged if he refuses,” she went on oblivious of Nellie Pennington’s humor.

“Then you do mean to speak to him?”

“Of course.” Nina’s eyes showed only grave surprise at the question. “How should he know it otherwise?”

“Your methods are nothing, if not direct.”

“Phil would never guess unless I told him. For a clever man he’s singularly stupid about women. I think that’s why I like him. Why shouldn’t I tell him? What’s the use of beating around the bush? It’s such a waste of time and energy.”

Mrs. Pennington’s laugh threw discretion to the winds.

“Oh, Nina, you’ll be the death of me yet. There never was such a passion since the beginning of Time.”

[183]

“I didn’t say I loved Phil Gallatin,” corrected Nina promptly. “I said I’d decided to marry him.”

“And have you any reason to suppose that he shares your—er—nubile emotions?”

“None whatever. He has always been quite indifferent to me—to all women. I think the arrangement might be advantageous to him. He’s quite poor and I’ve got more money than I know what to do with. He’s not a fool, and I’m—Nellie, I’m not old-looking or ugly, am I? Why shouldn’t he like me, if he doesn’t like any one else?”

“No reason in the world, dear. I’d marry you, if I were a man.”

Mrs. Pennington took to cover uneasily, conscious that here was a situation over which she could have no control. She was not in Phil Gallatin’s confidence or in Jane Loring’s, and the only kind of discouragement she could offer must fail of effectiveness with a girl  in the world that she wanted to do, and who had apparently decided that what she now wanted was Phil Gallatinpolar m600


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