Page:My Life and Loves.djvu/216

This page has been validated.

delighted with my English accent, I believe, and showed me special favor at once by giving me a large outside room with its own entrance and steps into the garden.

In an hour I had paid my bill at the Eldridge House and had moved in: I showed a shred of prudence by making Willie promise Mrs. Gregory that he would turn up each Saturday with the five dollars for my board; the dollar extra was for the big room.

In due course I shall tell how he kept his promise and discharged his debt to me. For the moment everything was easily, happily settled. I went out and ordered a decent suit of ordinary tweeds and dressed myself up in my best blue suit to call upon Mrs. Mayhew after lunch. The clock crawled but on the stroke of three, I was at her door: a colored maid admitted me.

"Mrs. Mayhew", she said in her pretty singing voice, "will be down right soon: I'll go call Miss Lily".

In five minutes Miss Lily appeared, a dark slip of a girl with shining black hair, wide laughing mouth, temperamental thick red lips and grey eyes fringed with black lashes: she had hardly time to speak to me when Mrs. Mayhew came in: "I hope you two'll be great friends", she said prettily; "you're both about the same age" she added .

In a few minutes Miss Lily was playing a waltz on the Steinway and with my arm round the slight, flexible waist of my inamorata I was trying to waltz. But alas! after a turn or two I became giddy and in spite of all my resolution had to admit that I should never be able to dance.

"You have got very pale", Mrs. Mayhew said, "you must sit down on the sofa a little while". Slowly