Mr. Hungerton, her father, really was the most tactless person upon earth,--a fluffy, feathery, untidy cockatoo of a man, perfectly good-natured, but absolutely centered upon his own silly self.
If anything could have driven me from Gladys, it would have been the thought of such a father-in-law.
I am convinced that he really believed in his heart that I came round to the Chestnuts three days a week for the pleasure of his company, and very especially to hear his views upon bimetallism, a subject upon which he was by way of being an authority.
For an hour or more that evening I listened to his monotonous chirrup about bad money driving out good, the token value of silver, the depreciation of the rupee, and the true standards of exchange.
Ned - Narrator
he cried with feeble violence,
“that all the debts in the world were called up simultaneously, and immediate payment insisted upon,--what under our present conditions would happen then?”
Ned - Narrator
I gave the self-evident answer that I should be a ruined man, upon which he jumped from his chair, reproved me for my habitual levity, which made it impossible for him to discuss any reasonable subject in my presence, and bounced off out of the room to dress for a Masonic meeting.
At last I was alone with Gladys, and the moment of Fate had come!
All that evening I had felt like the soldier who awaits the signal which will send him on a forlorn hope;
hope of victory and fear of repulse alternating in his mind.
She sat with that proud, delicate profile of hers outlined against the red curtain.
How beautiful she was!
And yet how aloof!
We had been friends, quite good friends;
but never could I get beyond the same comradeship which I might have established with one of my fellow-reporters upon the Gazette,--perfectly frank, perfectly kindly, and perfectly unsexual.
My instincts are all against a woman being too frank and at her ease with me.
It is no compliment to a man.
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