A Young Man

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I’m not Miss Ackroyd,” she began with emphasis, when a querulous voice from an inner room called out: “Whom are you talking to, Sylvia?” “A young man with a boxful of beetles,” returned the girl, adding in brisk French: “Il est tres amusant ce farceur. Je ne le comprends pas du tout. Cest une blague, peut-etre. Si on l’invitait dans la maison pour un moment?” Through one of the air-holes, considerately punched in the cardboard cover of the box, a sturdy crawler had succeeded in pushing himself. He was, in the pass4sure reviews main, of a shiny and well-groomed black, but two large patches of crimson gave him the festive appearance of being garbed in a brilliant sash. As he stood rubbing his fore-legs together in self-congratulation over his exploit, his bearer addressed him in French quite as ready as the girl’s: “Permettez-moi, Monsieur le Colioptere, de vous presenter mes excuses pour cette demoiselle qui s’exprime en langue etrangere chez elle.” “Don’t apologize to the beetle on my account,” retorted the girl with spirit. “You’re here on your own terms, you know, both of you.” Average Jones mutely held tip the box in one hand and the advertisement in the other. The adventurer-bug flourished a farewell to the girl with his antennae, and retired within to advise his fellows of the charms of freedom. “Very well,” said the girl, in demure tones, though lambent mirth still flickered, golden, in the depths of the brown eyes. “If you persist, I can only suggest that you come back when judge Ackroyd is here. You won’t find him particularly amenable to humor, particularly when perpetrated by a practical joker in masquerade.” “Discovered,” murmured Average Jones. “I shouldn’t have vaunted my poor French. But must I really take my little friends all the way back? You suggested to the mystic voice within that pass4sure review I might be invited inside.” “You seem a decidedly unconventional person,” began the other with dawning disfavor. “Conventionality, like charity, begins at home,” he replied quickly. “And one would hardly call this advertisement a pattern of formal etiquette.” “True enough,” she admitted, dimpling, and Average Jones was congratulating himself on his diplomacy, when the querulous voice broke in again, this time too low for his ears. “I don’t ask you the real reason for your extraordinary call,” pursued the girl with a glint of mischief in her eyes, after she had responded in an aside, “but auntie thinks you’ve come to steal my dog. She thinks that of every one lately.” “Auntie? Your dog? Then you’re Sylvia Graham. I might have known it.” “I don’t know how you might have known it. But I am Sylvia Graham– if you insist on introducing me to yourself.” “Miss Graham,” said the visitor promptly and gravely, “let me present A.V.R.E. Jones: a friend–” “Not the famous Average Jones!” cried the girl. “That is why your face seemed so familiar. I’ve seen your picture at Edna Hale’s. You got her ‘blue fires’ back for her. But really, that hardly explains your being here, in this way, you know.” “Frankly, Miss Graham, it was just as a lark that I answered the advertisement. But now that I’m here and find you here, it looks– er–as if it might–er–be more serious.” A tinge of pink came into the girl’s cheeks, but she answered lightly enough: “Indeed, it may, for you, if uncle finds you here with those beetles.” “Never mind me or the beetles. I’d like to know about the dog that your aunt is worrying over. Is he here with you?” The soft curve of Miss Graham’s lips straightened a little. “I really think,” she said with decision, “that you had better explain further before questioning.” “Nothing simpler. Once upon a time there killtest review lived a crack-brained young Don Quixote who wandered through an age of buried romance piously searching for trouble. And, twice upon a time, there dwelt in an enchanted stone castle in West Sixteenth Street an enchanting young damsel in distress–” “I’m not a damsel in distress,” interrupted Miss Graham, passing over the adjective. The young man leaned to her. The half smile had passed from his lips, and his eyes were very grave. “Not–er–if your dog were to–er–disappear?” he drawled quietly. The swift unexpectedness of the counter broke down the girl’s guard. “You mean Uncle Hawley,” she said. “And your suspicions jump with mine.” “They don’t!” she denied hotly. “You’re very unjust and impertinent.”

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