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The Register
by [?]


MISS REED: “Why nonsense? Oh, why? Expound!”

MISS SPAULDING: “Because he wasn’t rude to me, and he doesn’t want to see me. Because I’m plain, and you’re pretty.”

MISS REED: “I’m NOT! You know it perfectly well. I’m hideous.”

MISS SPAULDING: “Because I’m poor, and you’re a person of independent property.”

MISS REED: “DEPENDENT property, I should call it: just enough to be useless on! But that’s insulting to HIM. How can you say it’s because I have a little money?”

MISS SPAULDING: “Well, then, I won’t. I take it back. I’ll say it’s because you’re young, and I’m old.”

MISS REED: “You’re NOT old. You’re as young as anybody, Nettie Spaulding. And you know I’m not young; I’m twenty-seven, if I’m a day. I’m just dropping into the grave. But I can’t argue with you, miles off so, any longer.” Miss Reed appears at the open door, dragging languidly after her the shawl which she had evidently drawn round her on the sofa; her fair hair is a little disordered, and she presses it into shape with one hand as she comes forward; a lovely flush vies with a heavenly pallor in her cheeks; she looks a little pensive in the arching eyebrows, and a little humorous about the dimpled mouth. “Now I can prove that you are entirely wrong. Where- -were you?–This room is rather an improvement over the one we had last winter. There is more of a view”–she goes to the window–“of the houses across the Place; and I always think the swell front gives a pretty shape to a room. I’m sorry they’ve stopped building them. Your piano goes very nicely into that little alcove. Yes, we’re quite palatial. And, on the whole, I’m glad there’s no fireplace. It’s a pleasure at times; but for the most part it’s a vanity and a vexation, getting dust and ashes over everything. Yes; after all, give me the good old-fashioned, clean, convenient register! Ugh! My feet are like ice.” She pulls an easy-chair up to the register in the corner of the room, and pushes open its valves with the toe of her slipper. As she settles herself luxuriously in the chair, and poises her feet daintily over the register: “Ah, this is something like! Henrietta Spaulding, ma’am! Did I ever tell you that you were the best friend I have in the world?”

MISS SPAULDING, who continues her work of arranging the room: “Often.”

MISS REED: “Did you ever believe it?”



MISS SPAULDING, thoughtfully regarding a vase which she holds in her hand, after several times shifting it from a bracket to the corner of her piano and back: “I wish I could tell where you do look best!”

MISS REED, leaning forward wistfully, with her hands clasped and resting on her knees: “I wish you would tell me WHY you don’t believe you’re the best friend I have in the world.”

MISS SPAULDING, finally placing the vase on the bracket: “Because you’ve said so too often.”

MISS REED: “Oh, that’s no reason! I can prove to you that you are. Who else but you would have taken in a homeless and friendless creature like me, and let her stay bothering round in demoralizing idleness, while you were seriously teaching the young idea how to drub the piano?”

MISS SPAULDING: “Anybody who wanted a room-mate as much as I did, and could have found one willing to pay more than her share of the lodging.”