Senator North by Gertrude Franklin Horn Atherton
Senator North started for Washington that afternoon. Betty did not see him again. He did not write, but she hardly expected that he would. He had remarked once that two-thirds of all the trouble in the world came out of letters, and Betty, with Miss Trumbull in mind, was inclined to agree with him. He would not return for a fortnight.
On Friday, very late, Senator Burleigh arrived. He was on the Finance Committee, but had written that he should break his chains for this brief holiday if he never had another. He had sent her two boxes of flowers since her return, and had written her a large number of brief, emphatic, but impersonal letters during her sojourn in California.
He looked big and breezy and triumphant as he entered the living-room, and he sprinkled magnetism like a huge watering-pot. Betty knew by this time that all men successful in American politics had this qualification, and had come in contact with it so often since her introduction to the Senate that it had ceased to have any effect on her except when emanating from one man.
"Are you not frightfully tired?" she asked. "What a journey!"
"Anything, even a fourteen hours' train journey, is heaven after Washington in hot weather. The asphalt pavements are reeking, and your heels go in when you forget to walk on your toes--and stick. But it is enchanting up here."
His eyes dwelt with frank delight on her fresh blue organdie. "Oh, Washington does not exist," he exclaimed. "I thought constantly of you when we were struggling over that Tariff Bill in Committee, and I wanted to put all the fabrics you like on the free list, as a special compliment to you."
"The unwritten history of a Committee Room! Law does not seem like law at all when one knows the makers of it. But you must be starved. If you will follow me blindly down the hall, I promise that you will really be glad you came."
Miss Trumbull had attended personally to the supper, and he did it justice, although he continued to talk to Betty and to let his eyes express a more fervent admiration than had been their previous habit.
"There's no hope for me," thought Betty, when Emory had taken him to his room. "He has made up his mind to propose during this visit. If I can only stave it off till the last minute!"
As she went up the stair, she met Miss Trumbull, who was coming down.
"Your supper was very good," she said kindly. "Thank you for sitting up."
That was enough for the housekeeper, who appeared to have conceived a worship of the hand that had smitten her. It had seemed to Betty in the last few days that she met her admiring eyes whichever way she turned. Miss Trumbull put out her hand and fumbled at the lace on Miss Madison's gown.
"Tell me," she drawled wheedlingly, "that's your beau, ain't it? I guessed he was when those flowers come, and the minute I set eyes on him, I said to myself, 'That's the gentleman for Miss Madison. My! but you'll make a handsome couple."
"Oh!" exclaimed Betty. "Oh!" Then she laughed. The woman was too ridiculous for further anger. "Good-night," she said, and went on to her room.