The Street of the City

The Street of the City by Grace Livingston Hill

Book: The Street of the City by Grace Livingston Hill Read Free Book Online
Authors: Grace Livingston Hill
and chaperone them. I just know it could be made popular among the young crowd, and we’d get a lot of money. Of course we’d make them pay a good price for their tickets. And it would be awfully popular among their parents if you and I and a few others of the really solid set of young people were sponsoring it. You were always popular everywhere, and just your being in the scheme would give it a boom right off at the start. The kids would be crazy to join it, and there would be enough of our own set to have really a good time for us. Don’t you see? While we are carrying on something worthwhile for the younger ones, helping them to do defense work, too, you know. And you, Val, you need something really restful and relaxing once a week at least.”
    “Hold up a minute, Marietta. Do I understand that you are proposing a series of dances once a week for which I should be partly responsible? Well, right at the beginning, no way! I never was interested in dances in my life, and I don’t propose to stop my man-sized job now and start in playing with kids. Seriously, Marietta, you don’t seem to know what this war is about.”
    “Oh, now Val, you don’t really understand. Do come over a few minutes and I’ll make you see what a perfectly swell plan it is.”
    “Not possible, Marietta. You’ll have to excuse me now. My time is up and I’ll have to hang up. Sorry to disappoint you, but you picked the wrong man for a thing like that. I’ve grown up since you and I used to play prisoner’s base and fight who should be allowed in. Good night, Marietta. See you sometime soon for a few minutes when I get a chance, but I can’t say just when it will be.”
    Valiant Willoughby hung up the receiver and went upstairs with a bound. Was Marietta really as silly as she sounded? What had life done to her? Was she as much of a snob as she used to be, or had she acquired a semblance of courtesy? Her voice didn’t sound like it, but maybe he was mistaken. He really would have to run over sometime and renew his acquaintance. But, how would she compare with that girl he had brought home tonight? Getting herself a difficult, responsible job; going there on skates; fighting her way against those two bullies; coming home to take the responsibilities of a family upon her frail young shoulders. Marietta: well educated, rich, not a responsibility in the world, and all she could think of to help her country was to organize a series of dances, where she could have a good time among her kind. Bah! Well, maybe he was misjudging her. He would go and see her sometime and give her a chance to prove herself, whether she was worthwhile.

Chapter 6
    T he very next afternoon about closing time Marietta appeared on the scene at the street door of the plant, in her gorgeous sports car; wearing attractive furs of sable; her gold hair in a long, sleek bob with the ends duly curved in the latest twirl. She sent a boy to Valiant Willoughby’s office to say that she had come to take him home and would he please come out to the car
at once
! She wanted to see him about something important.
    But Val had just gone out the back way and was hurrying up the frozen river to the plant where Frannie worked. He didn’t intend she should run any further risks tonight.
    And so while Marietta waited impatiently for the office boy from the front office to go all over the plant hunting for Willoughby, he was kneeling on the ice fastening Frannie’s skates and hadn’t even seen the beautiful vision in her sports car who had set all the office boys around the place agog with envy of “the young boss.” At last the boy came back apologetically and said they couldn’t find Mr. Willoughby. They thought he must have stepped out somewhere.
    “But that’s the same tale you had for me yesterday when I called him on the telephone,” said Marietta impatiently. “Isn’t he ever here?”
    “Why, yes ma’am. He works here. That is, he’s all over the place usually. We never

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