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Mansfield's Short Stories

The Young Girl
In her blue dress, with her cheeks lightly flushed, her blue, blue eyes, and her gold curls
pinned up as though for the first time--pinned up to be out of the way for her flight--Mrs.
Raddick's daughter might have just dropped from this radiant heaven. Mrs. Raddick's
timid, faintly astonished, but deeply admiring glance looked as if she believed it, too; but
the daughter didn't appear any too pleased--why should she?--to have alighted on the
steps of the Casino. Indeed, she was bored--bored as though Heaven had been full of
casinos with snuffy old saints for croupiers and crowns to play with.
"You don't mind taking Hennie?" said Mrs. Raddick. "Sure you don't? There's the car,
and you'll have tea and we'll be back here on this step-- right here--in an hour. You see, I
want her to go in. She's not been before, and it's worth seeing. I feel it wouldn't be fair to
her."
"Oh, shut up, mother," said she wearily. "Come along. Don't talk so much. And your
bag's open; you'll be losing all your money again."
"I'm sorry, darling," said Mrs. Raddick.
"Oh, do come in! I want to make money," said the impatient voice. "It's all jolly well for
you--but I'm broke!"
"Here--take fifty francs, darling, take a hundred!" I saw Mrs. Raddick pressing notes into
her hand as they passed through the swing doors.
Hennie and I stood on the steps a minute, watching the people. He had a very broad,
delighted smile.
"I say," he cried, "there's an English bulldog. Are they allowed to take dogs in there?"
"No, they're not."
"He's a ripping chap, isn't he? I wish I had one. They're such fun. They frighten people
so, and they're never fierce with their--the people they belong to." Suddenly he squeezed
my arm. "I say, do look at that old woman. Who is she? Why does she look like that? Is
she a gambler?"
The ancient, withered creature, wearing a green satin dress, a black velvet cloak and a
white hat with purple feathers, jerked slowly, slowly up the steps as though she were
being drawn up on wires. She stared in front of her, she was laughing and nodding and
cackling to herself; her claws clutched round what looked like a dirty boot-bag.
But just at that moment there was Mrs. Raddick again with--her--and another lady
hovering in the background. Mrs. Raddick rushed at me. She was brightly flushed, gay, a
 
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