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“Yes,” said Lucy. “I did not think it would be any harm. It is such a public matter—”

“A public matter!” exclaimed Montague. “I should think so! To sit up on top of a coach for the crowds to stare at, and for thirty or forty newspaper reporters to take snap-shots of! And to have yourself blazoned as the fascinating young widow from Mississippi who was one of Stanley Ryder's party, and then to have all Society looking at the picture and winking and making remarks about it!”

“You take such a cynical view of everything,” protested Lucy. “How can people help it if the crowds will stare, and if the newspapers will take pictures? Surely one cannot give up the pleasure of going for a drive—”

“Oh, pshaw, Lucy!” said Montague. “You have too much sense to talk like that. If you want to drive, go ahead and drive. But when a lot of people get together and pay ten or twenty thousand dollars apiece for fancy coaches and horses, and then appoint a day and send out notice to the whole city, and dress themselves up in fancy costumes and go out and make a public parade of themselves, they have no right to talk about driving for pleasure.”

“Well,” said she, dubiously, “it's nice to be noticed.”

“It is for those who like it,” said he; “and if a woman chooses to set out on a publicity campaign, and run a press bureau, and make herself a public character, why, that's her privilege. But for heaven's sake let her drop the sickly pretence that she is only driving beautiful horses, or listening to music, or entertaining her friends. I suppose a Society woman has as much right to advertise her personality as a politician or a manufacturer of pills; all I object to is the sham of it, the everlasting twaddle about her love of privacy. Take Mrs. Winnie Duval, for instance. You would think to hear her that her one ideal in life was to be a simple shepherdess and to raise flowers; but, as a matter of fact, she keeps a scrap-album, and if a week passes that the newspapers do not have some paragraphs about her doings, she begins to get restless.”

Lucy broke into a laugh. “I was at Mrs. Robbie Walling's last night,” she said. “She was talking about the crowds at the opera, and she said she was going to withdraw to some place where she wouldn't have to see such mobs of ugly people.”

“Yes,” said he. “But you can't tell me anything about Mrs. Robbie Walling. I have been there. There's nothing that lady does from the time she opens her eyes in the morning until the time she goes to bed the next morning that she would ever care to do if it were not for the mobs of ugly people looking on.”

—“You seem to be going everywhere,” said Montague, after a pause.

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“Oh, I guess I'm a success,” said Lucy. “I am certainly having a gorgeous time. I never saw so many beautiful houses or such dazzling costumes in my life.”

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“It's very fine,” said Montague. “But take it slowly and make it last. When one has got used to it, the life seems rather dull and grey.”

“I am invited to the Wymans' to-night,” said Lucy,—“to play bridge. Fancy giving a bridge party on Sunday night!”

Montague shrugged his shoulders. “Cosí fan tutti,” he said.

“What do you make of Betty Wyman?” asked the other.

“She is having a good time,” said he. “I don't think she has much conscience about it.”

“Is she very much in love with Ollie?” she asked.

“I don't know,” he said. “I can't make them out. It doesn't seem to trouble them very much.”

This was after church while they were strolling down the Avenue, gazing at the procession of new spring costumes.—“Who is that stately creature you just bowed to?” inquired Lucy.

“That?” said Montague. “That is Miss Hegan—Jim Hegan's daughter.”