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... ll sides. For Monty Brewster the first sensation of regret was followed by a diabolical sense of joy. "Thank the Lord!" he said softly in the hush. The look of surprise he encountered in the faces of his guests brought him up with a jerk. "That it didn't happen while we were dining," he added with serene thankfulness. And his nonchalance scored for him in the idle game he was playing. CHAPTER VII A LESSON IN TACT Mr. Brewster's butler was surprised and annoyed.

For the first time in his official career he had unbent so far as to manifest a personal interest in the welfare of his master. He was on the verge of assuming a responsibility which makes any servant intolerable. But after his interview he resolved that he would never again overstep his position. He made sure that it should be the last offense. The day following the dinner Rawles appeared before young Mr. Brewster and indicated by his manner that the call was an car insurance rates important one. Brewster was seated at his writing- table, deep in thought. The exclamation that followed Rawles's cough of announcement was so sharp and so unmistakably fierce that all other evidence paled into business insurance insignificance. The butler's interruption came at a moment when Monty's mental arithmetic was pulling itself out of a very bad rut, and the cough drove it back into chaos. "What is it," he demanded, irritably. Rawles had upset his calculations to the extent of seven or eight hundred dollars. "I came to report h'an unfortunate condition h'among insurance rate the servants, sir," said Rawies, stiffening as his responsibility became more and more weighty. He had relaxed temporarily upon entering the room. "What's the trouble?" "The trouble's h'ended, sir." "Then why bother me about it?" "I thought it would be well for you to know, sir. The servants was going to ask for 'igher wiges to-day, sir." "You say they were going to ask. Aren't they?" And Monty's eyes lighted up at the thought of new possibilities. "I convinced them, sir, as how they were getting good pay as it is, sir, and that they ought to be satisfied. They'd be a long time finding a better place and as good wiges. They 'aven't been with you a week, and here they are strikin' for more pay. Really, sir, these American servants--" "Rawles, that'll do!" exploded Monty. The butler's chin went up and his cheeks grew redder than ever. "I beg pardon, sir," he gasped, with a respectful but injured air. "Rawles, you will kindly not interfere in such matters again. It is not only the privilege, but the duty of every American to strike for higher pay whenever he feels like it, and I want it distinctly understood that I am heartily in favor of their attitude. You will kindly go company insurance back and tell them that after a reasonable length of business insurance service their wiges--I mean wages--shall be increased. AND DON'T MEDDLE AGAIN, ThirdPart400_500 Rawles." Late that afternoon Brewster dropped in at Mrs. DeMille's to talk over plans for the next dinner. He realized that in no other way could he squander his money with a better chance of getting its worth than by throwing himself bodily into society. It went easily, and there could be only one asset arising from it in the end--his own sense of disgust. "So glad to see you, Monty," greeted Mrs. Dan, glowingly, coming in with a rush. "Come upstairs and I'll give you some tea and a cigarette. I'm not at home to anybody." "That's very good of you, Mrs. Dan," said he, as they mounted the stairs. "I

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don't know what I'd do without your business insurance help." He was thinking how pretty she was. "You'd be richer, at any rate," turning to smile upon him from the upper landing. "I was in tears half the night, Monty, over that glass screen," she said, after finding a comfortable place among the cushions of a divan. Brewster dropped into a roomy, lazy chair punish her by staying

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away, it was evident that she felt equally responsible for a great deal of misery on his part. Both had been more or less unhappy, and both were resentfully obstinate. Brewster felt hurt and insulted, while she felt that he had imposed upon her disgracefully. He was now ready to cry quits and it surprised him to find her obdurate. If he had expected to dictate the terms of peace he was woefully disappointed when she treated his advances with cool contempt. "Barbara, you know I care very much for you," he was pleading, fairly on the road to submission. "I am sure you are not quite indifferent to me. This foolish

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misunderstanding must really be as disagreeable to you as it is to me." "Indeed," she replied, lifting her brows disdainfully. "You are assuming a good deal, Mr. Brewster." "I am merely recalling the fact that you business insurance once told me you cared. You would not promise anything, I know, but it meant much that you cared. A little difference could not have changed your feeling completely." "When you are ready to treat me with respect I may listen to your petition," she said, business insurance rising haughtily. "My petition?" He did not like the word and his tact quite deserted him. "It's as much yours as mine. Don't throw the burden of responsibility on me, Miss Drew." "Have I suggested going back to the old relations? You will pardon me if I remind you of the fact that you came

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to-day on your own initiative and certainly without my solicitation." "Now, look ThirdPart400_500 here, Barbara--" he began, dimly realizing that it was going to be hard, very hard, to reason. "I am very sorry, Mr. Brewster, but you will have to excuse me. I am going out." "I regret exceedingly that I should have disturbed you to-day, Miss Drew," he said, swallowing his pride. "Perhaps I may have the pleasure insurance companies of seeing you again." As he was leaving the house, deep anger in his soul, he encountered the Colonel. There was something about Monty's greeting, cordial as it was, that gave the older man a hint as to the situation. "Won't you stop for dinner, Monty?" he asked, in the hope that his suspicion was

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groundless. "Thank you, Colonel, not to-night," and he

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was off before the Colonel could hold him. Barbara was tearfully angry when her father came into the room, but as he began to remonstrate with her the tears disappeared and left her at white heat. "Frankly, father, you don't understand matters," she said with slow emphasis; "I wish you to know now that if Montgomery Brewster calls again, I shall not see him." "If that is your point of view, Barbara, I wish you to know mine." The Colonel rose and stood over her, everything forgotten but the rage that went so deep that it left the surface calm. Throwing aside his

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promise to Brewster, he told Barbara with dramatic simplicity the ThirdPart400_500 story of the rescue of the bank. "You see," he added, "if it had not been for that open-hearted boy we would now be ruined. Instead of giving cotillons, you might be giving music lessons. Montgomery Brewster will always be welcome in this house and you will see that my wishes are respected. Do you understand?" "Perfectly," Barbara answered in a still voice. "As your friend I shall try to be civil to him." The Colonel was not satisfied with so cold-blooded an acquiescence, but he wisely retired from the field. He left the girl silent and crushed, but with a gleam in her eyes that was not altogether to be concealed. The story had touched her more deeply than she would willingly confess. It was something to know that Monty Brewster could do a thing like that, and would do it for her. The exultant smile which it

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brought to her lips could only be made to disappear by reminding herself sharply of his recent arrogance.

Her anger, she found, was a plant which needed careful cultivation. It was in a somewhat chastened mood that she started a few days later for a dinner at the DeMille's. As she entered in her sweeping golden business insurance gown the sight of Monty Brewster at the other end of the room gave her a flutter at the heart. But it was an agitation that was very carefully concealed.

Brewster was certainly unconscious of it. To him the position of guest was like a disguise and he was pleased at the prospect of letting himself go under the mask without responsibility. But it took on a different color when the butler handed him a card which signified that he was to take Miss Drew in to dinner. Hastily seeking out the hostess he endeavored to convey to her the impossibility of the situation. "I hope you won't car insurance rate misunderstand me," he said. "But is

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it too late to change my place at the table?" "It isn't conventional, I know, Monty. Society's chief aim is to separate engaged couples at dinner," said Mrs. Dan with a laugh. "It would be positively compromising if a man and his wife sat together." Dinner was announced before Monty could utter another word, and as she led him over to Barbara she said, "Behold a generous hostess who gives up the best man in the crowd so that he and some one else may have a happy time. I leave it to you, Barbara, if that isn't the test of friendship." For a moment the two riveted their eyes on the floor. Then the humor of the situation came to Monty. "I did not know that we were supposed to do Gibson tableaux to- night," he said drily as he proffered his arm. "I don't understand," and Barbara's curiosity overcame her determination not to speak. "Don't you remember the picture of the man who was called upon to take his late fiancee out to dinner?" The awful silence with which this remark was received put an end to further efforts at humor. The dinner was probably the most painful business insurance experience in their lives. Barbara had come to it softened and ready to meet him half way. The rig ...

 
   
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