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The ladies' home journal
Vol. XX, No. 7 (June, 1903)

Von Hutten, Baroness
The eighth proposal,   p. 7 PDF (1.1 MB)

Page 7

The Eighth Proposal
By the Baroness von Hutten
Author of "Our Lad3 of the Beeches," "Marred in Making. ,tc.
RNOLD CAREY looked up
from his sketch and watched
Mrs. Oglethorpe's still grace-
ful figure until it disap-
peared behind the hedge. Then he
said, his brush still idly poised in
the air: " Three lies in five minutes
thirty-six an hour; eight hundred
and sixty-four in twenty-four hours;
six thousand and forty-eight a week
twenty-four thousand and--"
But Marion interrupted him. " For Heaven's sake,
Arnold, you don't imagine the woman talks all night?"
" Divide it by two, then," lie returned placidly, washing
in the scarlet of the geraniums that served as a background
to her slim, white figure. " She may not talk at night, but
she certainly talks all day."
" What were the lies she told? I didn't notice them,"
she asked, settling herself as he began to paint.
" None of them amounted to much. Firstly, that she
was delighted to see me; secondly, that George has in-
flammatorv rheumatism_-"   He paused. '' The poor
fellow told me himself that he was off to White Plains
for a last trial."
Marion shook her head sadly. "' You wouldn't
have her tell people that her son - "
Carey nodded energetically: "Yes, I
would. Or nothing else at all. I hate
lying and compromising and evading,
and all the rest of it."
So do I. But-number three?
Oh, number three? That your
mother looked so handsome last
night. Your mother never looked
worse in her life; that gown
makes her ghastly."
That's all very well-I
agree with you about the
gown - but do \.ou think one
could live without telling
some few fibs? Don't you
ever do it yourself ?''
There was suppressed
mischief in her blue eyes,
the exact shade of which
so bothered  him. He
looked at her for a mo-
ment and then went on
painting without answer-
ing her two questions.
Below them stretched
the lawn so perfect in its
thick, smooth growth
that it had been left un-
broken save for one big
bed of scarlet geraniums.
Beyond the lawn, the
quiet lake ; above, the
August sky; and over all,
the brooding heat of an
August morning, the quiet
only intensitied by the
booming of a big bee.
Marion sat in silence for a
time, watching theapparently
reckless dabbing of color and
water on the block of paper,
and noticing, as she had often
done, the nervous strength in
Carey's thin, brown hand. It
was too warm to think, and she
was tired.
What an absurd thing it is, danc-
ing in summer," she said at length,
barely moving her red lips. " I am a
You don't look it," lie returned
She smiled back at him, and then suddenly:
There ! That isn't true ! Why did you say
it ? '
Carey flushed. " Isn't true ?'
" No, it's-a lie. I look worn and old this morning,
and I know it perfectly. Why (lid you, Champion of
the Truth, tell me a lie ? "
" Why did I ? Yes, why ? You are right. You do look
pale and done up."
There was a short pause.
"Shall I go on?"
Well, you have during the past few months gone off a
good deal, and that's one reason why I am so much inter-
ested in getting a good sketch of you."
She laughed a little nervously. '' You wish to immor-
talize le dernie- resle of my beauty."
"I do."
Well, I will help all I can. Hadn't you better put
off the sitting until to-morrow ? I may look better then."
" Oh, it's not that bad. It's only that you are, after all,
twenty-seven, and that I am used to seeing you look
twenty. Turn your head a little more. I want your ear."
" What do you want with Maidie's ear, Mr. Carey ? It
did sound so funny." Hetty Wheelock, Marion's younger
sister, came out on to the veranda, followed by two youths.
" We're off to the links, Maidie. Maud is coming and
we're to have a foursome."
' Do wear a veil, Hetty," urged Marion, a little impa-
tiently. '' How can you be so careless ? "
The young girl ran down the steps laughing, one of the
youths protesting that Hetty didn't need to bother about
veils yet a while.
Carey painted on, and then after a bit, laying down his
brush, rose. '' I'm tired. Let's go for a walk," he said.
" Too warm."
It wasn't too warm for Hetty.''
Hetty is twenty, dear soul ; I am twenty-seven.''
And I am thirty-two, and not yet too decrepit for a
stroll in the sun."
She laughed, but took tip her parasol and they went
down the broad path to the lake.
" You might row me over to the Kings'," she said to
him. "I hear that Mrs. King's sister is ill, and it's
civil, though tiresome, to inquire about her."
All right. You'll say you're so sorry, that you do
hope she'll come tip here soon, and you'll send her your
love --"
" And if I didn't?" retorted the girl a little irritably.
''If I said to her : ' I'm bound myself to be polite, but in
reality I hope that your sister won't come, as it is such
hard work to induce any of the men to dance or drive or
play golf with her '-you are ridiculous, Arnold."
Carey pushed off from shore and took up the oars.
Why are you cross? " he asked. '' Not because I said
you were going off, surely? "
" Certainly not; my head aches."
Carey smiled delightedly. '' Come, Maidie, you know
it's that ! Perfectly natural, moreover."
" That I should object to your finding me passe? My
dear Arnold, if I had cared so much for your opinion- "
" You would have accepted me one of the seven times
I proposed to you. Quite so. It is not the opinion of
Arnold Carev that counts ; it's that of a man who, in
speaking, you think, speaks for that portion of society that
represents the world to you."
She laughed. " You are right. No girl enjoys going
off, particularly one who-I can say it now as it is in the
past-was known as a beauty. You will admit that, what-
ever I may be now, I used to be pretty."
"'I admit it. You were more than
pretty. I can remember occasions
when you were splendidly beautiful."
" Then I will rest oin my laurels
and try to cultivate a contented
spirit. I trust, by-the-way, that that
remark was truthful. Lies of any
kind are so shocking
" I never lied to you, Marion," he
returned seriously, " in any way
that counts."
And to other people ? "
Oh- I'm no better than my neighbors, I suppose
No better than Mrs. Oglethorpe ? I am so ashamed
of you. Arnold, let's agree to tell the truth all (lay. I
mean even in little wee things. It might prove amusing."
He looked up at her with intent eyes.
" All day? Up to-  ?"
" Up to good-night. Shall we?"
He grunted assentingly. ' All right; I agree. Only to
each other, you mean ? "
She laughed. " No. To every one."
I shall enjoy watching your verbal evolutions, my
child. Here we are. Now for Mrs. King."
But Marion made short work of Mrs. King, and
soon after leaving her house the two friends
found themselves sitting under a big oak
tree on a hill, looking down at the water.
Marion, why did you refuse me the
first time?"
Marion started.
The first time ? My dear Arnold,
I was only sixteen."
'Ruled out as no answer.
Why ? "
Because I wasn't in love with
you, I suppose."
And the second time?"
"0Was that on Harry's yacht,
or at Jamestown ?,"
"Onl the yachit. Had you
forgotten ?"
Y -. No. It was on the
vacht. Well-there were
several reasons."
'"Eliot was one o.f
Yes. But this is too
one-sided. Why didn't
voi come to that Christ-
mas dinner ?"
" Because I'd promised
some one else to (line
wvith -them. "
Some one' is singu-
lar; ' them ' is plural."
Well-I'd promised a
- a female--''
01Oh, I know who your
female was."
So much the better.
Always wiser to name no
Did you make love to the
female ? "
"I did.''
' Were you in love with her?''
Then why did you make love
to her?"
Why do the heathen rage '?
Before she could answer lie went
on quickly : " Who sent you the six
dozen Beauties on your twenty-first
A man. 'It is always wiser to name
no names.'
She rose. '' Let's go and tell the truth to
some one else ; it will be more exciting."
He followed her down the hill, and as they
vere about to get into their boat they were
joined by another man and girl.
We're coming over to luncheon, Marion," the
girl cried. " I hope you are glad."
I'm--" she stopped short and went on, '' What
a perfect hat ! "
Carey whistled softly as he began rowing, and meeting
Marion's eyes his own danced with delight.
" Flow long are you going to stay, Arnold?" Miss
Vane asked hini, settling herself comfortably in her place.
" Only a day or so. Or-rather-as long as Mrs.
Wheelock will keep me ! And you, Rogers?"
Rogers laughed. " I'm here for a month. Miss Vane
says I may stay if I'm good."
Miss Vane had turned and was looking into the water.
As they vent up the walk Marion managed to whisper
to Carey : '' Don't leave me alone with her for a moment;
they're engaged --I can't bear him ! "
Luncheon went off well, and after it Miss Vane, who
tried several times to get a few words in private with
Marion, proposed a walk to the golf links.
No," Marion said. '' I'd rather not."
What do you want to do, then ? I'm crazy to have a
talk with you-"
''Impossible to-day, Minnie," broke in Carey mercifully.
Marion and I are going for a tramp."
Minnie Vane opened her rather round eyes very wide.
Why, you don't mean to say that-that you--"
That we what? " asked Marion calmly.
Oh, nothing. I only meant that after all these years
you surely don't care whether a t~te-A-tte with Arnold is
interrupted ? "

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