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|The Lees Of Happiness||F. Scott Fitzgerald|
|Page 3 of 4||
"You'll have to come out here and live," said Jeffrey. "Get a place out in the country like us, for you and Kitty."
"You don't know Kitty. She hates the country. She's got to have her theatres and vaudevilles."
"Bring her out," repeated Jeffrey. "We'll have a colony. There's an awfully nice crowd here already. Bring her out!"
They were at the porch steps now and Roxanne made a brisk gesture toward a dilapidated structure on the right.
"The garage," she announced. "It will also be Jeffrey's writing-room within the month. Meanwhile dinner is at seven. Meanwhile to that I will mix a cocktail."
The two men ascended to the second floor--that is, they ascended half-way, for at the first landing Jeffrey dropped his guest's suitcase and in a cross between a query and a cry exclaimed:
"For God's sake, Harry, how do you like her?"
"We will go up-stairs," answered his guest, "and we will shut the door."
Half an hour later as they were sitting together in the library Roxanne reissued from the kitchen, bearing before her a pan of biscuits. Jeffrey and Harry rose.
"They're beautiful, dear," said the husband, intensely.
"Exquisite," murmured Harry.
"Taste one. I couldn't bear to touch them before you'd seen them all and I can't bear to take them back until I find what they taste like."
"Like manna, darling."
Simultaneously the two men raised the biscuits to their lips, nibbled tentatively. Simultaneously they tried to change the subject. But Roxanne undeceived, set down the pan and seized a biscuit. After a second her comment rang out with lugubrious finality:
"Why, I didn't notice----"
"Oh, I'm useless," she cried laughing. "Turn me out, Jeffrey--I'm a parasite; I'm no goal----"
Jeffrey put his arm around her.
"Darling, I'll eat your biscuits."
"They're beautiful, anyway," insisted Roxanne.
"They're-they're decorative," suggested Harry.
Jeffrey took him up wildly.
"That's the word. They're decorative; they're masterpieces. We'll use them."
He rushed to the kitchen and returned with a hammer and a handful of nails.
"We'll use them, by golly, Roxanne! We'll make a frieze out of them."
"Don't!" wailed Roxanne. "Our beautiful house."
"Never mind. We're going to have the library repapered in October. Don't you remember?"
Bang! The first biscuit was impaled to the wall, where it quivered for a moment like a live thing.
When Roxanne returned, with a second round of cocktails the biscuits were in a perpendicular row, twelve of them, like a collection of primitive spear-heads.
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|The Lees Of Happiness
F. Scott Fitzgerald
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