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"Oh, Mr. Lovejoy," she added, "Mr. Lamson and I are going to take a walk. Won't you come too?"
"Certainly, certainly, Miss Phyllis; just a minute, I'll get my hat."
When he had disappeared, Lamson turned to Phyllis. "What made you do that?" he asked.
"Ask him. I only asked you to go."
"Why, I thought you'd like him to go. The more the merrier, you know; besides, I thought we might talk bugs, he and I."
"Yes, Phyllis, but I didn't want to talk bugs. I wanted to talk to you about-something else."
The girl shot him a quick, penetrating glance.
"Mr. Lamson," she said, "bugs are oftentimes more interesting to me than something else."
Lamson started. He did not know that such a little personage could be so dignified and so cruel.
They all three started out together, with Phyllis in the middle; but half an hour later Lamson came stalking back alone. Behind him on the side of one of the warm, sunny hills could be seen a spot of pink, and beside it the professor. They were both, Phyllis and Professor Lovejoy, wending their way slowly down from the hilltop, talking bugs,-and something else too, for all Lamson knew. He had left them a little while before, both crouched low in the long grass, their heads dangerously near together, watching a cricket chirp.
Lamson was feeling rather unhappy; Phyllis had been cruel from the start. He had taken them to a beautiful, shady spot with a dark, cool brook flowing silently along beneath overhanging ferns and white waxen flowers, untouched by the sun. She did not rave over the loveliness of the spot. She did not even mention the ferns and the flowers. All she said was when Lamson had led her into his sanctuary,
"Oh, what a superb place for frogs, Professor! We'll come frog-hunting here to-morrow afternoon. Don't forget tomorrow afternoon-frog-hunting."
Lamson was deeply disappointed. Formerly, Phyllis would have admired the spot because of its beauty, its silence, its woodland odors; she would have knelt down and touched the ferns, the flowers; and if, by chance, a frog had broken in upon
her girlish admiration, she would have been startled and annoyed. It was unnatural, unbelievable, for her not to be afraid of bugs, but to admire them,-it was unmaidenly, at least so Lamson thought.
Lamson did not really believe that she cared for frogs and spiders and beetles, any more than she did for the professor himself. He believed that she was playing her little part with Professor Lovejoy just to make the summer more exciting. Lamson thought that one of woman's most delightful pleasures is to excite jealousy, and he realized that Phyllis was succeeding. He could have endured it, perhaps, to be jealous of a real man; he would have been content to contend for Phyllis with his equal, but even to try to outdo such a specimen of humanity,his pride could not allow that. He would withdraw from the battle; he would refuse to contend with the professor.
He walked bitterly toward the veranda and up the few steps into its inviting shade; he threw himself exhausted into the hammock again and closed his eyes. The veranda was quite deserted save for one large, mannish girl who was cleaning her golf clubs with an old rag and some oil. She was sitting with the toes of her stout, thick shoes toeing in, and between her knees she supported a golf club which she was scouring. She was whistling a popular coon song, and keeping time with one foot. Her name was Sarah Farnum.
Lamson opened his eyes and looked over toward her. "What are you doing?"
The girl looked annoyed. "Can't you see?" she said, and went on whistling.
Lamson never cared for her. She was too sarcastic,-and too much like himself in other ways, also. But suddenly a bright idea came to him. He would give Phyllis a little of her own medicine. He got up directly from the hammock and strode over towards the girl.
"Let me help you."
"Fiddlesticks," she said.
"Truly, I mean it. Here, give me the rag.
"Thank you." she said quickly, "I always clean my own clubs. You would hinder more than you would help."
Lamson smiled. Some girls, he thought, made a great mistake never to allow people to help them. All he said was, "You really do not have much respect for my abilities, do you? But I may stay here and talk, may I not ?"
"Oh, I suppose so, if you want to." And she raised the club on a level with her eyes, and squinted critically down its shaft. "Straight as an arrow," she said, and went on whistling.
When Phyllis and the professor came back, they found Mr. Lamson and Miss Farnum deep in a discussion of golf. The girl had long since ceased to whistle. Lamson was very good at all kinds of athletics, especially golf, and he knew how to make himself interesting to all kinds of people. The girl was telling of the tournaments she had won the preceding summer. Lamson, who had a very vivid imagination, was saying in an off-hand way that he believed that he himself had something like ten cups at home, all the booty of one season's playing. Miss Farnum was really beginning to show interest in spite of herself, and before Lamson left her, she had promised to go out to the links with him the next morning directly after breakfast. That afternoon Lamson saw little of Phyllis. She was off somewhere with the professor, but that evening after supper he said,
'Phyllis, will you play golf with me to-morrow morning?" She only played a little, but she smiled and said,
"Certainly I will, and this time we will go alone. The professor doesn't play at all."
"Doesn't he? Well, we sha'n't be alone, Miss Phyllis, I have asked Sally to go too,-Sally Farnum, you know."
"Oh, have you? How perfectly lovely!" Phyllis had not the slightest idea of appearing injured. Lamson was discouraged. That night before going in, he found Miss Farnum. and told her that he was going to call her Sally. She blushed for the first time in ten years and gave her consent.
The next morning Lamson told Phyllis to drive off first. He let her make her own tee and stood talking to Sally while she selected her driver. Phyllis was dressed in white piqué, and wore a scarlet tie that waved fitfully in the breeze. Miss Farnum wore a soiled blue shirt-waist and a very short black golf skirt. Lamson, although he was a man, noticed the difference immediately. The first time Phyllis didn't touch the ball. She tried again and topped it. She leaned down and placed it carefully back on its tee and drew the club back slowly for the third time. This time she foozled badly, but succeeded in sending the ball about six yards.
"You are playing five, aren't you?" Miss Farnum asked.
"Oh, no," Phyllis answered, "I don't count those first ones, I'm playing two."
"Oh, indeed," Miss Farnum said, raising her eyebrows slightly. "I must insist that you are playing five."
"Why, I do not have to count those first two, do I, Mr. Lamson?" She was looking straight at him with her beautiful brown eyes, but he pulled himself together, and said sternly, "Oh, yes, of course you do."
"Oh, all right," Phyllis said, and she walked off toward her ball, humming. She wished she knew how to whistle, but she didn't.
Miss Farnum stepped up on the teeing ground.
May I make your tee ?" Lamson offered.
"No, I always make my own." With long, slow, backward stroke and a quite firm return, she sent the little white ball flying yards and yards over the links.
"A pretty one, Sally," Lamson said, and picked out his driver. His ball followed Miss Farnum's in the same straight line, and fell a yard ahead of it. They walked off together towards them, chatting enthusiastically.
"You're one after my own heart, Sally," Lamson said so that Phyllis could hear him. But Phyllis appeared entirely engrossed in arranging some daisies in her belt.
"My turn?" she called after them.
"Yes," said Miss Farnum, "and be sure you keep right count."
"Oh," called back Phyllis, "if you both are so afraid I'll cheat, you had better watch and see that I don't."
That was the first mistake Phyllis had made.
"It wouldn't make any difference if you did cheat," Miss Farnum laughed back; and Lamson laughed too, but it was only with a great, great effort. They sat down when they reached their balls, and waited for Phyllis, and Lamson told Sally's fortune by palmistry.
When at last they all finished the first hole, Lamson's score was five, Miss Farnum's six, and Phyllis's twenty-eight.
"I tell you what, Miss Phyllis," Lamson said, "you see Sally and I have to wait so much for you, perhaps you'd better keep your own score." Lamson felt like a brute.
"Oh, no, I'm going to caddy now. I never play but one hole."
'Oh, all right," Lamson said, "but you mustn't talk, you
know, it disconcerts Sally."
"Oh, you needn't be afraid, Mr. Lamson. I won't rob you of any of your precious conversation."
Phyllis had made another mistake. She was falling into the trap.
After that, all around the course, Lamson seemed entirely to forget Phyllis. He even had the brutality to let her carry one of the heavy golf bags, nor did he even offer to help her. She would not give in, but tugged it patiently around even to the eighth hole. Poor Phyllis was fighting well, but at the eighth hole she gave in a little.
"You might offer at least to carry this bag, Mr. Lamson," she said.
"Why, of course, of course, how careless of me! I forgot entirely about it. I was so interested in this golf, and-and—”
"Yes, say it, and--Sally."
Ah, Phyllis couldn't hold out much longer, the surrender was not far off.
On the way home Lamson and Miss Farnum let Phyllis walk alone at times twenty yards behind them. Once they waited for her to catch up, but when she had come near enough she said,
"Oh, you needn't wait. I'd really rather walk alone, and I know you both would."
She was almost conquered, but not quite.
"Mr. Lamson," she faltered, "I've got a bug tied up here in my handkerchief for the professor. He isn't here; will you please carry it home for me?"
Lamson sighed, and took the little lace wad and stuffed it in his vest pocket. Phyllis had dealt the last blow bravely, but Lamson saw how her small hand shook, and how her under lip trembled when she spoke. It was the last weak sally before the surrender.
That afternoon Phyllis did not go frog-hunting with the professor.
"I'm too tired," she said, and stayed in her room all the after
That evening after supper, she wasn't to be found. Lamson felt uneasy. He was afraid he had made a mistake. He strolled listlessly out into the warm summer night and down a narrow path that led into an orchard. There he found her.