maple cake, drug-store ice cream. Even when the food was gone they
remained cheerful. They could go home, any time now, and go to bed!
They went, with a flutter of coats, chiffon scarfs, and good-bys.
Carol and Kennicott walked home.
"Did you like them?" he asked.
"They were terribly sweet to me."
"Uh, Carrie----You ought to be more careful about shocking folks.
Talking about gold stockings, and about showing your ankles to
schoolteachers and all!" More mildly: "You gave 'em a good time, but I'd
watch out for that, 'f I were you. Juanita Haydock is such a damn cat. I
wouldn't give her a chance to criticize me."
"My poor effort to lift up the party! Was I wrong to try to amuse them?"
"No! No! Honey, I didn't mean----You were the only up-and-coming person
in the bunch. I just mean----Don't get onto legs and all that immoral
stuff. Pretty conservative crowd."
She was silent, raw with the shameful thought that the attentive circle
might have been criticizing her, laughing at her.
"Don't, please don't worry!" he pleaded.
"Gosh; I'm sorry I spoke about it. I just meant----But they were crazy
about you. Sam said to me, 'That little lady of yours is the slickest
thing that ever came to this town,' he said; and Ma Dawson--I didn't
hardly know whether she'd like you or not, she's such a dried-up old
bird, but she said, 'Your bride is so quick and bright, I declare, she
just wakes me up.'"
Carol liked praise, the flavor and fatness of it, but she was so
energetically being sorry for herself that she could not taste this
"Please! Come on! Cheer up!" His lips said it, his anxious shoulder said
it, his arm about her said it, as they halted on the obscure porch of
"Do you care if they think I'm flighty, Will?"
"Me? Why, I wouldn't care if the whole world thought you were this or
that or anything else. You're my--well, you're my soul!"
He was an undefined mass, as solid-seeming as rock. She found his
sleeve, pinched it, cried, "I'm glad! It's sweet to be wanted! You must
tolerate my frivolousness. You're all I have!"
He lifted her, carried her into the house, and with her arms about his