Margaret often marvelled, as she found herself deriving the keenest pleasure from old Mrs. Leitzel's happiness and deep content, how the Leitzels could so blindly miss, in their selfish materialism, the true sources of joy in life.The betrothal and impending marriage of Daniel Leitzel was the only topic of discussion that evening at the New Munich Country Club dance. Certainly New Munich had a Country Club. "Up to date in every particular." There was nothing in the way of being smartly fashionable that the town of New Munich lacked. Well, if up to the present it had lacked old families of "distinguished lineage," who, in these commercial days, regarded that kind of thing? Anyway, was not that lack (if lack it had been) now to be supplied by the newcomer, Mrs. Daniel Leitzel?
Not only at the Country Club dance, but wherever two or three were gathered together—at the mid-week prayer Meeting, at the Woman's Suffrage Headquarters, at the Ladies' Literary Club, at the Episcopal Church Vespers, at the auction bridge given at Congressman Ocksreider's home—Danny Leitzel's betrothal was talked about.
"Just imagine this 'daughter of a thousand earls——'"
"Governors, not earls," corrected Mr. Schaeffer, the whist partner of the first speaker who was Miss Myrtle Deibert, as supper was being served at eleven o'clock on the card tables at Congressman Ocksreider's. "A thousand governors and highbrows—shy-lologists, or something like that—whatever they are!"
"Well, just imagine such a person living at the Leitzels!"
"But you don't suppose Danny's sisters will still live with him after he's married!" exclaimed Mr. Bleichert, the second young man at the table.
"If he thinks it more economical, they certainly will," declared Miss Myrtle Deibert.
"Whew!" exclaimed Mr. Bleichert. "Good-night!"
"Who would have supposed any nice girl would have married old Danny Leitzel!" marvelled Mr. Schaeffer.
"Oh, come now," protested Mr. Bleichert who was a cynic, "why have all the girls, from the buds just out, up to the bargain-counter maidens in their fourth 'season,' been inviting Danny Leitzel to everything going, and running after him heels over head, ever since he built his ugly, expensive brick house on Main Street? Tell me that, will you?"
It should be stated here that it was an accepted social custom in New Munich for the people at one card table to discuss the clothes, manners, and morals of those at the next table.
"You know perfectly well," retorted Miss Deibert, "that at least two girls in this town, when it came to the point of marrying Danny, chucked it."
"I should think they might," said Schaeffer. "Why, he isn't a man, he's a weasel, a rat, a money-slot!"
"Well, of course, the girl or old maid, 'bird or devil,' that has caught him at last, isn't marrying him for himself, but for his money," serenely affirmed Myrtle Deibert.
"When she meets his two appendages, Miss Jennie and Miss Sadie, she'll wish she was single again!" predicted Mr. Bleichert.
"They'll probably think it their business to manage Danny's wife the way they manage him," Miss Deibert declared.
"I hope she's a spendthrift," shrugged Mr. Schaeffer. "It would give Dan Leitzel the shock he needs to find himself married to a spendthrift."
"She won't be one after she's Mrs. Daniel Leitzel!" Miss Deibert confidently asserted.
"But of course she's rich—Dan Leitzel wouldn't marry a dowerless woman," said Bleichert.
"Well, then he won't let her spend her money," Miss Deibert settled that.
, a pale, serious-looking girl, did not join in the discussion, but sat with her eyes downcast, toying with her food, as the rest chattered. The other three did not give Miss Aucker credit for remaining silent because she found their gossip vulgar and tiresome (which was indeed her true reason) but attributed her disinclination to talk to the fact that during the past year Daniel Leitzel had been rather noticeably attentive to her; so much so that people had begun to look for a possible interesting outcome. Miss Deibert, Mr. Schaeffer, and Mr. Bleichert, therefore, all considered her demeanour just now to be an indelicately open expression of her chagrin at the news they discussed.
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