THE SATURDAY EVENING POST l6 BERNICE BOBS HER HAI (Continued from Page 15) " What's on your mind?" inquired Marjorie, rather puzzled. Bernice paused before she threw her hand grenade. "I heard what you said about me to your mother last night." Marjorie was startled, but she showed only a faintly heightened color and her voice was quite even when she spoke. "Where were you?" "In the hall. I didn't mean to listen— at first." After an involuntary look of contempt Marjorie dropped her eyes and became very interested in balancing a stray corn flake on her finger. "I guess I'd better go back to Eau Claire—if I'm such a nuisance." Bernice's lower lip was trembling violently and she continued on a wavering note: "I've tried to be nice, and—and I've been first neglected and then insulted. No one ever visited me and got such treatment." Marjorie was silent. "But I'm in the way, I see. I'm a drag on you. Your friends don't like me." She paused, and then remembered another oneof her grievances. "Of course I was furious last week when you tried to hint to me that that dress was unbecoming. Don't you think I know how to dress myself?" "No," murmured Marjorie less than half aloud. " What?" "I didn't hint anything," said Marjorie succinctly. "I said, as I remember, that it was better to wear a becoming dress three times straight than to alternate it with two frights." `Do you think that was a very nice thing to say?" "I wasn't trying to be nice." Then after a pause: "When do you want to go?" Bernice drew in her breath sharply. "Oh!" It was a little half cry. Marjorie looked up in surprise. "Didn't you say you were going?" "Yes, but IP "Oh, you were only bluffing!" They stared at each other across the breakfast table for a moment. Misty waves were passing before Bernice's eyes, while Marjorie's face wore that rather hard expression that she used when slightly intoxicated undergraduates were making love to her. "So you were bluffing," she repeated as if it were what she might have expected. Bernice admitted it by bursting into tears. Marjorie's eyes showed boredom. "You're my cousin," sobbed Bernice. "I'm v-v-visiting you. I was to stay a month, and if I go home my mother will know and she'll wah-wonder —" Marjorie waited until the shower of broken words collapsed into little sniffles. "I'll give you my month's allowance," she said coldly, "and you can spend this last week anywhere you want. There's a very nice hotel —" Bernice's sobs rose to a flute note, and rising of a sudden she fled from the room. An hour later, while Marjorie was in the library absorbed in composing one of those noncommittal, marvelously elusive letters that only a young girl can write, Bernice reappeared, very red-eyed and consciously calm. She cast no glance at Marjorie but took a book at random from the shelf and sat down as if to read. Marjorie seemed absorbed in her letter and continued writing. When the clock showed noon Bernice closed her book with a snap. "I suppose I'd better get my ticket." This was not the beginning of the speech she had rehearsed upstairs, but as Marjorie was not getting her cues—wasn't urging her to be reasonable; it's all a mistake—it was the best opening she could muster. "Just wait till I finish this letter," said Marjorie without looking round. "I want to get it off in the next mail." After another minute, during which her pen scratched busily, she turned round and relaxed with an air of "at your service." Again Bernice had to speak. "Do you want me to go home?" "Well," said Marjorie, considering, "I suppose if you're not having a good time you'd better go. No use being miserable." " Don't you think common kindness —" "Oh, please don't quote Little Women!" cried Marjorie impatiently. "That's out of style." `You think so?" "Heavens, yes! What modern girl could live like those inane females?" "They were the models for our mothers." Marjorie laughed. "Yes, they were—not! Besides our mothers were all very well in their way, but they know very little about their daughters' problems. Bernice drew herself up. "Please don't talk about my mother." Marjorie laughed. "I don't think I mentioned her." Bernice felt that she was being led away from her subject. "Do you think you've treated me very well?" "I've done my best. You're rather hard material to work with." The lids of Bernice's eyes reddened. "I think you're hard and selfish, and you haven't a feminine quality in you." "Oh, my Lord!" cried Marjorie in desperation. You little nut! Girls like you are responsible for all the tiresome colorless marriages; all those ghastly inefficiencies that pass as feminine qualities. What a blow it must be when a man with imagination marries the beautiful bundle of clothes that he's been building ideals round, and finds that she's just a weak, whining, cowardly mass of affectations!" Bernice's mouth had slipped half open. " The womanly woman !" continued Marjorie. "Her whole early life is occupied in whining criticisms of girls like me who really do have a good time." Bernice's jaw descended further as Marjorie's voice rose. (Continued on Page 163) I , . .. .... 1 . IP V i f: i 1 .44110 ' f f l ! -41. , # .,..v. ... i*. - n tea _ — , . ' i . . ,.. a I s •...... .. •..; , l‘ - ..- i... ,,",•,•„• 24.', f • / 74 4. • .. - < \ \ C. . . , .... ' . • ... - , -- • N., . `..-- . .>. ' v.... :.-..e ....._ . „., ' .."'"............ ..... .., • .... • .- '.... ,„.., .....— itl ...._ ...- ).' ;V' ''.. A :.. -'7': - / . ,_......r......,...- ..- --...--.......,_-, ''Well," Said Marlorie, "No Girl Can Permanently Bolster up a Lame-Duck Visitor, Because These Days it's Every Girl for Herself"
Fitzgerald - Bernice Bobs Her Hair
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