The Efficiency Expert

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 52

that Billy misses. What in the world do you
suppose his profession is anyway? Since we first noticed him he has been
a hosiery clerk, a waiter, and a prize-fighter."

"I don't know, I am sure," said Elizabeth, yawning. "You seem to be
terribly interested in him."

"I am," admitted Harriet frankly. "He's a regular adventure all in
himself--a whole series of adventures."

"I've never been partial to serials," said Elizabeth.

"Well, I should think one would be a relief after a whole winter of
heavy tragedy," retorted Harriet.

"What do you mean?" asked Elizabeth.

"Oh, I mean Harold, of course," said Harriet. "He's gone around all
winter with a grouch and a face a mile long. What's the matter with him
anyway?"

"I don't know," sighed Elizabeth. "I'm afraid he's working too hard."

Harriet giggled.

"Oh, fiddlesticks!" she exclaimed. "You know perfectly well that
Harold Bince will never work himself to death."

"Well, he is working hard, Harriet. Father says so. And he's worrying
about the business, too. He's trying so hard to make good."

"I will admit that he has stuck to his job more faithfully than anybody
expected him to."

Elizabeth turned slowly upon her friend, "You don't like Harold," she
said; "why is it?"

Harriet shook her head.

"I do like him, Elizabeth, for your sake. I suppose the trouble is that
I realize that he is not good enough for you. I have known him all my
life, and even as a little child he was never sincere. Possibly he has
changed now. I hope so. And then again I know as well as you do that you
are not in love with him."

"How perfectly ridiculous!" cried Elizabeth. "Do you suppose that I
would marry a man whom I didn't love?"

"You haven't the remotest idea what love is. You've never been in
love."

"Have you?" asked Elizabeth.

"No," replied Harriet, "I haven't, but I know the symptoms and you
certainly haven't got one of them. Whenever Harold isn't going to be up
for dinner or for the evening you're always relieved. Possibly you don't
realize it yourself, but you show it to any one who knows you."

"Well, I do love him," insisted Elizabeth, "and I intend to marry him.
I never had any patience with this silly, love-sick business that
requires people to pine away when they are not together and bore
everybody else to death when they were."

"All of which proves," said Harriet, "that you haven't been stung yet,
and I sincerely hope that you may never be unless it happens before you
marry Harold."




CHAPTER

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