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Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/276

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A PHILANTHROPIST'S IDEA

if passing interest in things and people, and a certain fearlessness which accompanied the restless glancing of her mind established Marion Clark's leadership among girls and made her fascinating to most men. She was amusing, they thought, and reckless and individual; and if she had not had these charms men must still have admired "the Scandinavian beauty," as Stewart Lee termed her. She and Stewart were close friends; she had in fact started the exchange of amenities by praising the color scheme of his marriage. So he had retorted upon her, and Lydia had laughed at them both.

"I've had a hard day," Marion said, as she sat behind her tea-cups. "I'd just come from the most acrimonious meeting of our Discussion Club when I met you."

"Your what?"

"Our Discussion Club. Stewart Lee is responsible for it. The girls in Boston have them, and he told Lydia, and so she started one here. We meet every two weeks."

"What do you discuss?"

"Fine moral questions mostly. We're terribly ethical. To-day the subject was, 'When is a man justified in asking a girl to marry him.'"

"When he's sure he's in love with her," Floyd suggested promptly.

"Oh, it's not so simple as that. That's where Adelaide Ward and I got into trouble; that's what we said in our unthinking young way. May Pennington pointed out to us that a cab-driver might fall in love with the lady who was in the habit of employing him when she went shopping, but that he would n't be justified in proposing marriage. And—"

"Oh, within reasonable limits, of course," said Floyd.

"Yes, it all came down to a question of defining reasonable limits. That was where everybody got earnest. We decided that class distinctions had to be made somehow. I was in favor of letting in pretty much anybody who could read and write, and Geraldine Fitz-Gerald