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8. A Partnership
All the adjectives in the social register were exhausted by the daily papers in describing
Mrs. Festus Willard's dance. Without following them into that verbal borderland wherein
"recherché" vies with "exclusive," and "chic" disputes precedence with "distingué," it is
sufficient for the purposes of this narrative to chronicle the fact that the pick of
Worthington society was there, and not much else. Also, if I may borrow from the
Society Editor's convenient phrase-book, "Among those present" was Mr. Harrington
For reasons connected with his new venture, Hal had come late. He was standing near the
doorway wondering by what path to attain to an unidentified hostess, when Miss Esmé
Elliot, at the moment engaged with that very hostess on some matter of feminine strategy
with which we have no concern, spied him.
"Who is the young Greek godling, hopelessly lost in the impenetrable depths of your
drawing-room?" she propounded suddenly.
"Who? What? Where?" queried Mrs. Willard, thus abruptly recalled to her duties.
"Yonder by the doorway, looking as if he didn't know a soul."
"It's some stranger," said the hostess, trying to peer around an intervening palm. "I must
go and speak to him."
"Wait. Festus has got him."
For the host, a powerful, high-colored man in his early forties, with a slight limp, had
noticed the newcomer and was now introducing himself. Miss Elliot watched the process
with interest.
"Jinny," she announced presently, "I want that to play with."
The stranger turned a little, so that his full face was shown. "It's Hal Surtaine!" exclaimed
Mrs. Willard.
"I don't care who it is. It looks nice. Please, mayn't I have it to play with?"
"Will you promise not to break it? It used to be a particular pet of mine."
"Oh, years ago. When you were in your cradle."