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THE ANCIENT GRUDGE

the biggest stick of all the men in Avalon, and I know that Mr. Morse is the biggest, and several times we've tried to convince each other. A few days ago somebody called me up on the telephone and said, 'Is that you, Mrs. Morse?' and I answered and said, 'Why, it's Mrs. Evans, is n't it?' And then we stood there giggling. And we've been calling each other those names ever since. And when we're alone together, we try to act out the parts. But you mustn't tell anybody this."

"Not even Morse, or Evans?" Floyd asked seriously. "What is it that makes a man a stick?"

"Well," replied Marion, "if instead of saying 'Not even Morse, or Evans' you had said, 'No, indeed, I won't tell a soul,' you would have been a stick."

"Heavens!" exclaimed Floyd. "What a narrow escape! How absolute the girl is!"

"It's the only safe thing for a girl to be," replied Marion calmly. " What do you think of girls? I always like to hear what a man who knows nothing about us thinks of us."

"Why do you ask me?" inquired Floyd.

"Dear me! I never saw a man yet who would n't pretend that he knew girls like a book. You are the vainest creatures. Now you know what I think of you; make a fair exchange."

"All right," said Floyd. "I think that girls are terribly hypercritical and prejudiced and sarcastic. And that means, of course, that they are rather shallow and ignorant. At the same time, they are so bright and clever and self-possessed that a man is usually much more afraid of them than he has any right to be, and very much influenced by what he thinks they will think. They are nearly all snobs—until they grow older—and the men who play round with them most are the worst snobs among the men. According to novels and poetry, girls ought to be very tender-hearted, but I believe they take more pleasure in being cruel than boys. I guess they improve as they