Contrary Mary (Chapter 5, page 2 of 9)


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Chapter 5

It was while he waited that a big car arrived with five passengers. He
recognized Porter Bigelow at once, and there were besides two older men
and two young women.

The taller of the two young women had eyes that roved. She had blue
black hair, and she wore black--a small black hat with a thin curved
plume, and a tailored suit cut on lines which accentuated her height and
slenderness. Her furs were of leopard skins. Her cheeks were touched
with high color under her veil.

The other girl had also dark hair. But she was small and bird-like.
From head to foot she was in a deep dark pink that, in the wool of her
coat and the chiffon of her veil, gave back the hue of the rose which was
pinned to her muff.

But it was on the girl in black that Roger fixed his eyes. Where had he
seen her?

They chose a table near him, and passed within the touch of his hand.
Porter did not recognize him. The tall man in the old overcoat and soft
hat was not linked in his memory with that moment of meeting in Mary's
dining-room.

"Everybody mixes up our names, Porter," the girl with the rose was saying
as they sat down; "the girls did at school, didn't they, Lilah?"

"Yes," the girl in black did not need many words with her eyes to talk
for her.

"Was it big Lilah and little Leila?" Porter asked.

"No," the dark eyes above the leopard muff widened and held his gaze.
"It was dear Leila, and dreadful Lilah. I used to shock them, you know."

The three men laughed. "What did you do?" demanded Porter, leaning
forward a little.

Men always leaned toward Delilah Jeliffe. She drew them even while she
repelled.

"I smoked cigarettes, for one thing," she said; "everybody does it now.
But then--I came near being expelled for it."

The little rose girl broke in hotly. "I think it is horrid still,
Lilah," she said.

Lilah smiled and shrugged. "But that wasn't the worst. One day--I
eloped."

She was making them all listen. The old men and the young one, and the
man at the other table.

"I eloped with a boy from Prep. He was nineteen, and I was two years
younger. We started by moonlight in Romeo's motor car--it was great fun.
But the clergyman wouldn't marry us. I think he guessed that we were a
pair of kiddies from school--and he scolded us and sent me back in a
taxi----"

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