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6. CROWNED HEADS (continued)
Etiquette is not rigid on New York ferry-boats. Without fuss or delay she proceeded to make their acquaintance--to Katie's concern, for she could never get used to Genevieve's short way with strangers. The quiet life she had led had made her almost prudish, and there were times when Genevieve's conduct shocked her. Of course, she knew there was no harm in Genevieve. As the latter herself had once put it, 'The feller that tries to get gay with me is going to get a call-down that'll make him holler for his winter overcoat.' But all the same she could not approve. And the net result of her disapproval was to make her shy and silent as she walked by this young man's side.
The young man seemed to divine her thoughts.
'Say, I'm on the level,' he observed. 'You want to get that. Right on the square. See?'
'Oh, yes,' said Katie, relieved but yet embarrassed. It was awkward to have one's thoughts read like this.
'You ain't like your friend. Don't think I don't see that.'
'Genevieve's a sweet girl,' said Katie, loyally.
'A darned sight too sweet. Somebody ought to tell her mother.'
'Why did you speak to her if you did not like her?'
'Wanted to get to know you,' said the young man simply.
They walked on in silence. Katie's heart was beating with a rapidity that forbade speech. Nothing like this very direct young man had ever happened to her before. She had grown so accustomed to regarding herself as something too insignificant and unattractive for the notice of the lordly male that she was overwhelmed. She had a vague feeling that there was a mistake somewhere. It surely could not be she who was proving so alluring to this fairy prince. The novelty of the situation frightened her.
'Come here often?' asked her companion.
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