"Who is that little person?" asked one of the few gentlemen who hovered about the doorways.
His hostess told Jessie's story in a few words, and was surprised to hear him say in a satisfied tone,—
"I'm glad she is poor. I want her head, and now there is some chance of getting it."
"My dear Mr. Vane, what do you mean?" asked the lady, laughing.
"I came to study young faces; I want one for a picture, and that little girl with the red leaves is charming. Please present me."
"No use; you may ask for her hand by-and-by, if you like, but not for her head. She is very proud, and never would consent to sit as a model, I'm sure."
"I think I can manage it, if you will kindly give me a start."
"Very well. The children are just going down to supper, and Miss Delano will rest. You can make your bold proposal now, if you dare."
A moment later, as she stood watching the little ones troop away, Jessie found herself bowing to the tall gentleman, who begged to know what he could bring her with as much interest as if she had been the finest lady in the room. Of course she chose ice-cream, and slipped into a corner to rest her tired feet, preferring the deserted parlor to the noisy dining-room,—not being quite sure where she belonged now.
Mr. Vane brought her a salver full of the dainties girls best love, and drawing up a table began to eat