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Dolly Dialogues   By: (1863-1933)

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by Anthony Hope


I. A Liberal Education II. Cordial Relations III. Retribution IV. The Perverseness of It V. A Matter of Duty VI. My Last Chance VII. The Little Wretch VIII. An Expensive Privilege IX. A Very Dull Affair X. Strange but True XI. The Very Latest Thing XII. An Uncounted Hour XIII. A Reminiscence XIV. A Fine Day XV. The House Opposite XVI. A Quick Change XVII. A Slight Mistake XVIII. The Other Lady XIX. What Might Have Been XX. One Way In


"There's ingratitude for you!" Miss Dolly Foster exclaimed suddenly.

"Where!" I asked, rousing myself from meditation.

She pointed to a young man who had just passed where we sat. He was dressed very smartly, and was walking with a lady attired in the height of the fashion.

"I made that man," said Dolly, "and now he cuts me dead before the whole of the Row! It's atrocious. Why, but for me, do you suppose he'd be at this moment engaged to three thousand a year and and the plainest girl in London?"

"Not that," I pleaded; "think of "

"Well, very plain anyhow. I was quite ready to bow to him. I almost did."

"In fact you did?"

"I didn't. I declare I didn't."

"Oh, well, you didn't then. It only looked like it."

"I met him," said Miss Dolly, "three years ago. At that time he was oh, quite unpresentable. He was everything he shouldn't be. He was a teetotaler, you know, and he didn't smoke, and he was always going to concerts. Oh, and he wore his hair long, and his trousers short, and his hat on the back of his head. And his umbrella "

"Where did he wear that?"

"He carried that, Mr. Carter. Don't be silly! Carried it unrolled, you know, and generally a paper parcel in the other hand; and he had spectacles too."

"He has certainly changed, outwardly at least.

"Yes, I know; well, I did that. I took him in hand, and I just taught him, and now !"

"Yes, I know that. But how did you teach him? Give him Saturday evening lectures, or what?"

"Oh, every evening lectures, and most morning walks. And I taught him to dance, and broke his wretched fiddle with my own hands!"

"What very arbitrary distinctions you draw!"

"I don't know that you mean. I do like a man to be smart, anyhow. Don't you, Mr. Carter? You're not so smart as you might be. Now, shall I take you in hand?" And she smiled upon me.

"Let's hear your method. What did you do to him?"

"To Phil Meadows? Oh, nothing. I just slipped in a remark here and there, whenever he talked nonsense. I used to speak just at the right time, you know."

"But how had your words such influence, Miss Foster?"

"Oh, well, you know, Mr. Carter, I made it a condition that he should do just what I wanted in little things like that. Did he think I was going to walk about with a man carrying a brown paper parcel as if we had been to the shop for a pound of tea?"

"Still, I don't see why he should alter all his "

"Oh, you are stupid! Of course, he liked me, you know."

"Oh, did he? I see."

"You seem to think that very funny."

"Not that he did but that, apparently, he doesn't."

"Well you got out of that rather neatly for you. No, he doesn't now. You see, he misunderstood my motive. He thought well, I do believe he thought I cared for him, you know. Of course I didn't."

"Not a bit?"

"Just as a friend and a pupil, you know. And when he'd had his hair cut and bought a frock coat (fancy he'd never had one!), he looked quite nice. He has nice eyes. Did you notice them."

"Lord, no!"

"Well, you're so unobservant."

"Oh, not always. I've observed that your "

"Please don't! It's no use, is it?"

I looked very unhappy. There is an understanding that I am very unhappy since Miss Foster's engagement to the Earl of Mickleham was announced.

"What was I saying before before you you know oh, about Phil Meadows, of course. I did like him very much, you know, or I shouldn't have taken all that trouble... Continue reading book >>

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