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The Dominant Strain   By: (1865-1945)

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THE DOMINANT STRAIN

[Illustration: "'Beatrix?' he said"]

THE DOMINANT STRAIN

BY ANNA CHAPIN RAY

AUTHOR OF "TEDDY, HER BOOK," "PHEBE, HER PROFESSION," "TEDDY, HER DAUGHTER," "NATHALIE'S CHUM," "EACH LIFE UNFULFILLED"

ILLUSTRATED BY HARRY C. EDWARDS

BOSTON LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY 1903

Copyright, 1903 , BY LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY.

All rights reserved

Published May, 1903

UNIVERSITY PRESS · JOHN WILSON AND SON · CAMBRIDGE, U. S. A.

ILLUSTRATIONS

FROM DRAWINGS IN COLOR BY HARRY C. EDWARDS

"'Beatrix?' he said" Frontispiece

"'Can't you make any sort of an excuse for yourself, Sidney?' she demanded" Page 123

"It was so that Thayer liked best to think of her" " 205

"Beatrix still sat at the disordered table" " 245

"'I believe I might as well ask you now'" " 339

THE DOMINANT STRAIN

CHAPTER ONE

Beatrix smiled a little wearily. Intimate friends are sometimes cloying, and she felt a certain irritation rising within her, as she watched Sally's bright face under her French toque, and listened to the easy stream of chatter which issued from Sally's lips. Sally had never faced such a crisis as the one confronting Beatrix, that day. Moreover, she had dimples, and it was impossible to believe in the sympathy of a person whose dimples insisted upon coming into sight, even in the midst of serious discussion.

"If he hasn't already," Sally persisted; "he is bound to do it before the season is over. Then what shall you tell him?"

"Aren't you rushing things a little?" Beatrix inquired languidly. "Please do remember that I only met Mr. Lorimer at the Horse Show, and that it is three weeks to Lent."

"That's nothing," Sally replied flatly, but flippantly. "You subjugated Eric Stanford in half that time, and his gray matter has been in a pulpy condition ever since."

"I didn't know it."

"About his gray matter?"

"Oh, that is congenital trouble. I mean I didn't know that I had subjugated him. Besides, that is different. He was Bobby Dane's chum, and we took him into the family."

"Took him in all over," Sally drawled.

Beatrix's eyes flashed. There were things she would not say to Sally; there were also things which Sally could not say to her.

"I am so sorry," she said, as she rose; "but I must get ready for Mrs. Stanley's recital. How does it happen you aren't going?"

"For the most ignominious of reasons. I'm not bidden. Mrs. Stanley and I were on a committee together, once upon a time. We squabbled over some amateur theatricals, and she has cut my acquaintance ever since. I always did say that there is nothing like amateur theatricals for bringing out all the worst vices of humanity. If a Shakespearian revival ever reaches the heavenly host, Gabriel and Michael will have to play Othello and Iago turn and turn about, to prevent ill feeling. Beatrix?"

"Well?"

"What do you honestly think of Mr. Lorimer?"

Beatrix hesitated. Then she faced her friend.

"That he is the most interesting man we have met, this season."

"That's not saying any too much. Still, it is an admission. Are you going to marry him?"

"He hasn't asked me."

"But he will."

"How do you know?"

"I do know."

"I'm not so sure of it." Beatrix laughed nervously.

"But if he does?"

"I I'm not so sure of that, either."

"Beatrix! Why not?"

Beatrix untied the long ribbons which belted her gown, and stood drawing them slowly through and through her fingers. Sally leaned back in her deep chair and watched her friend keenly, mercilessly. She and Beatrix had fenced long enough; it was time for the direct thrust. Sidney Lorimer was the most available man on that winter's carpet. Moreover, for weeks he had been a patient follower in the wake of Beatrix Dane. Beatrix might be as impenetrable as she chose; but Sally knew that, during the past week, she had been reading the headings of certain suppressed chapters in Lorimer's history, and that they had changed her whole attitude towards the man... Continue reading book >>




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