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Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/105

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"See anybody you'd like to meet?" asked Farrell. "I'll introduce you. Or just step up and speak. That's the way it's done."

"Thank you," said Floyd. "I'm not much of a dancer. I'll look on."

"You don't mind if I go off and take a turn?"

"No; go ahead."

Farrell picked out a girl with black hair and cherry-colored ribbons, and somewhat more cherry color on lips and cheeks than Floyd thought attractive. But as they danced they matched each other in their utter nonchalance of movement; the girl let her left arm hang limply, and indeed from her hips up seemed paralyzed, except for the continuous action of her jaw, for she was chewing gum. Farrell waltzed with that superb, blasé air of one who is too languid to take the steps, but glides and walks through them nevertheless with marvelous accuracy in time. For all the talk that passed between the two, or animation on their faces, or interest in their surroundings, they might have been dancing in their sleep; and Floyd thought they avoided collisions and disasters with the traditional dexterity of the somnambulist.

Most of the girls were chewing gum without cessation, and danced with the same absolute silence. As for the men, those who had been long active had discarded coats and vests; the red or cerulean dye from their brilliant suspenders was spreading out upon their shirts, and the habit of perspiration seemed not to be one that they left behind them in the mills.

When the music ceased, Floyd waited, curious to see what sort of girl his friend would lead out for the next dance. Somewhat to his surprise, Farrell continued with the same partner. They had gone round the room three or four times when they stopped near Floyd, and Farrell, leaving the girl to chew her gum unconcernedly, came over to him.

"I'm going to leave before long," he said. "Don't