Three Men and a Maid (Chapter 3, page 2 of 12)


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Chapter 3

Her friends called her Billie. He did not blame them. It was a delightful name and suited her to perfection. He practised it a few times. "Billie ... Billie ... Billie...." It certainly ran pleasantly off the tongue. "Billie Bennett." Very musical. "Billie Marlowe." Still better. "We noticed among those present the charming and popular Mrs. 'Billie' Marlowe."

A consuming desire came over him to talk about the girl to someone. Obviously indicated as the party of the second part was Eustace Hignett. If Eustace was still capable of speech--and after all the boat was hardly rolling at all--he would enjoy a further chat about his ruined life. Besides, he had another reason for seeking Eustace's society. As a man who had been actually engaged to marry this supreme girl, Eustace Hignett had an attraction for Sam akin to that of some great public monument. He had become a sort of shrine. He had taken on a glamour. Sam entered the state-room almost reverentially with something of the emotions of a boy going into his first dime museum.

The exhibit was lying on his back staring at the roof of the berth. By lying absolutely still and forcing himself to think of purely inland scenes and objects he had contrived to reduce the green in his complexion to a mere tinge. But it would be paltering with the truth to say that he felt debonair. He received Sam with a wan austerity.

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