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HOME > Short Stories > The Queen of Farrandale > CHAPTER XIII MILLICENT DUANE
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 She glanced at him through the moisture. His face was seriously questioning. “No—I sent it away,” she replied indistinctly. “If you don’t mind I’ll walk on with you a bit, then.” He took his hat and opened the door for her. “My favorite part of the day,” he added.
In silence they crossed the wide veranda, and when they were descending the steps Millicent spoke again: “It sounded very foolish, for me to say I didn’t hear that record.”
“Perhaps you are one of the fortunate people who can close their ears to what they don’t wish to hear.” They passed through the iron gates. “Or perhaps you didn’t want to take sides. I saw Mr. Stanwood trying to hypnotize you.”
Millicent met her companion’s kind smile. “Why did Miss Frink want to make me feel so foolish?” she burst out impetuously.
“I’m sure she didn’t wish to or mean to. You shouldn’t grudge her a little fun. I’m certain she doesn’t have much. What she said shouldn’t have been embarrassing. It was extremely mysterious, however.”
Millicent regarded her companion again, suspiciously; but his was a most reassuring face, and, besides, he had a number of gray hairs.
“She said,” he went on, “that you called Mr. Stanwood Prince Charming before you knew of his existence. Nothing in that to offend you, but a riddle of riddles all the same, to me.”
Ogden’s pleasant voice soothing her vanity made swallowing a much easier matter. “You see,” she hesitated, “I used to be in Ross Graham’s.”
“Long ago?” He glanced at her childlike profile.
“Yes.—About three days. Miss Frink bought something of me—and I said—it was fit for Prince Charming—and Miss Frink didn’t know about fairy tales.”
“I dare say not,” remarked Ogden.
“So I told her, and we—we got acquainted that way.”
“Not that gorgeous robe!” said Ogden, suddenly enlightened.
“Yes, that horrid dressing-gown!”
“Horrid? It’s a dream!”
“Yes, a nightmare.”
“What’s all this? What’s all this?”
“I didn’t know he was there—in Miss Frink’s house.”
“She said you didn’t.”
“I didn’t know it was for him.”
“She said so.”
Millicent of the glowing cheeks turned quickly on her companion; and he smiled into her disturbed eyes.
“There is only one explanation of Miss Frink’s remark causing you embarrassment,” he said.
“Oh, of course I know I ought to have said something bright, and funny, and careless, but I never am bright, and funny, and careless. What do you mean by explanation?”
“Oh, just that the—the disturbing fact was that you found you had hit the nail on the head: that he was Prince Charming, you know.”
If Millicent’s cheeks could have gained a deeper hue it would have been there. Her temples grew rosy, and her lips parted. A little frown met her companion.
“Now, if it had been I that sat there sporting all those crimson jewels, I, with my high forehead, and silver threads among the gold, you would just have given a little sympathetic grin at Papa, and curtsied, and let it go at that.”
“Mr. Ogden,” with displeasure, “I am not so—”
“Just let me tell you, Miss Duane, so you’ll[153] think better of him, that Prince Charming isn’t working at it as a profession at all. I never saw anybody whose good looks disturbed him less.”
“Mr. Ogden, do you suppose—”
“So I don’t want you to let it set you against him, or feel the way you did when you ran downstairs just now. By the way, Miss Duane, do you happen to be related to the Colonel Duane who has a war record? Very distinguished man. I’ve heard he lives in Farrandale.”
The speaker had the pleasure of watching the transformation in the transparent face, from bewildered resentment to eagerness.
“There!” he said suddenly, “I suspected you had a dimple. If I had been wearing that dressing-gown, I should have seen it sooner.”
“Why, it’s Grandpa. Colonel Duane is my grandfather.—Perhaps you knew it all the time, and that is the reason you’ve been so—so disrespectful in your talk.”
Ogden laughed. “Indeed, the fact should have made me far more respectful. I didn’t know it, but your pretty name brought up the association. I certainly should like to meet Colonel Duane.”
“Well, you’re going to,” said Millicent eagerly. “We live together and we have a garden. We live in one of Miss Frink’s houses,[154] and when I used to be in Ross Graham’s—”
“Three days ago,” put in Ogden.
“Well, it seems three months. Then I had so little time with him; but now that I only have to get Miss Frink to sleep—”
“To sleep!”
“Not at night, you know. Just in the daytime. She has some one come and read to her, and now it’s me. It used to be another girl, but she bobbed her hair and lost the place. Poor Damaris! I do so wish I could get Miss Frink to let her have my position in the gloves, Miss Frink hates bobbed hair so. Do you think you might help, Mr. Ogden?”
“Anything I can do. Buy her some hair tonic, perhaps?”
Millicent laughed. “I may ask you to help,” she said earnestly. “We’re nearly there, Mr. Ogden, and I want to tell you before we meet Grandpa that I appreciate your kindness in seeing that I was unhappy and running after me. Mrs. Lumbard—do you know Mrs. Lumbard?”
“Yes, I do.”
“Well, she—even in that short time she made me feel I was in the way—and—and everything was wrong. I don’t want you to think I’m too stupid.”
Ogden met her appealing look. “I understand you very well,” he said.
They approached the little old house built before Farrandale had grown up.
“I’m so pleased that you appreciate Grandpa,” the girl went on. “You see Grandpa was a celebrated lawyer when he laid down his profession to go into that war. He is Somebody!”
Ogden perceived the white-haired figure in the garden. The old man had the hose in his hand and was sprinkling plants, shrubs and lawn.
When Ogden returned to the White Room, he found Hugh alone and rather impatient.
“Where did you disappear to?” inquired the boy.
“I eloped with that re............
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