Jaffray’s and the two of them went

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She could not understand how such a thing had happened. Had Nellie Pennington heard? That was impossible. There were but three people in New York who knew about Mr. Gallatin and herself, and the third one was Coley Van Duyn, who had guessed at their relationscustomer services jobs. Could Philip Gallatin have dared—dared to ask this favor of their hostess after Jane’s repudiation of him in the Park? She couldn’t believe that either. Fate alone could have conspired to produce a situation so full of exquisite possibilities. She waited a moment, gathering her shattered resources; and with that skill at dissimulation which men sometimes ape, but never actually attain, she thrust her arm through Miss  down the wide stairway, a very pretty picture of youth and unconcern.

Jane’s eyes swept the room with obtrusive carelessness, and took in every one in it, including the person for whom the glance was intended, who saw it from a distant corner, and marveled at the smile with which she entered and greeted her hostess.

“Hello, Nina! Jane, dear, so glad you could come!” said Nellie Pennington. “Oh, what a perfectly darling dress! You went to Doucet after all—for your debutante trousseau. Perhaps, I’d better call it your layette—you absurd child! Oh, for the roses of yesterday! You know Betty Tremaine, don’t you? And Mr. Savage? Coley do stop glaring and tell Phil Gallatin to come here at[130] once. My dear, you’re going in with the nicest man—a very great friend of mine, and I want you to be particularly sweet to him. Hear? Mr. Gallatin—you haven’t met—I know. Here he is now. Miss Loring—Mr. Gallatin.”

Jane nodded and coolly extended her hand. “How do you do,” she said, tepidly polite, and then quickly to her hostess. “It was very nice of you to think of me, Nellie. It seems ages since Pau, doesn’t it?”

“Ages! You unpleasant person. When you get as old as I am, you’ll never mention the flight of time. Ugh!”

Her shudder was very effective. Nellie Pennington was thirty-five, looked twenty, and knew it.

“What difference does it make,” laughed Jane, “when Time forgets one?”

“Very prettily said, my dear. Time may amble, but he’s too nimble to let you get him by the forelock.” And turning she greeted the late comers.

Jane turned to Mr. Gallatin, who was saying something at her earno1 cosmedic.




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