The Efficiency Expert

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 18

although there
were many comfortable chairs in the large room, and the sofa was an
exceptionally long one, she and her companion occupied but little more
space than would have comfortably accommodated a single individual.

"Stop it, Harold," she admonished. "I utterly loathe being mauled."

"But I can't help it, dear. It seems so absolutely wonderful! I can't
believe it--that you are really mine."

"But I'm not--yet!" exclaimed the girl.

"There are a lot of formalities and bridesmaids and ministers and things
that have got to be taken into consideration before I am yours. And
anyway there is no necessity for mussing me up so. You might as well
know now as later that I utterly loathe this cave-man stuff. And really,
Harold, there is nothing about your appearance that suggests a cave-man,
which is probably one reason that I like you."

"Like me?" exclaimed the young man. "I thought you loved me."

"I have to like you in order to love you, don't I?" she parried. "And
one certainly has to like the man she is going to marry."

"Well," grumbled Mr. Bince, "you might be more enthusiastic about it."

"I prefer," explained the girl, "to be loved decorously. I do not care
to be pawed or clawed or crumpled. After we have been married for
fifteen or twenty years and are really well acquainted--"

"Possibly you will permit me to kiss you," Bince finished for her.

"Don't be silly, Harold," she retorted. "You have kissed me so much now
that my hair is all down, and my face must be a sight. Lips are what you
are supposed to kiss with--you don't have to kiss with your hands."

"Possibly I was a little bit rough. I am sorry," apologized the young
man. "But when a fellow has just been told by the sweetest girl in the
world that she will marry him, it's enough to make him a little bit
crazy."

"Not at all," rejoined Miss Compton. "We should never forget the
stratum of society to which we belong, and what we owe to the
maintenance of the position we hold. My father has always impressed upon
me the fact that gentlemen or gentlewomen are always gentle-folk under
any and all circumstances and conditions. I distinctly recall his remark
about one of his friends, whom he greatly admired, to this effect: that
he always got drunk like a gentleman. Therefore we should do everything
as gentle-folk should do things, and when we make love we should make
love like gentlefolk, and not like hod-carriers or cavemen."

"Yes,"

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