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The Scarlet Cloak

By Dorothy Dow

When a pretty flapper has a scarlet week-end in her
Past, will it help or hinder her plans for a
Successful marriage

LOVE can be almost anything in the world, as you find ont when you are too old to be interested in it any longer. A banner, flaunting to the world with purple splendor; a secret hidden in the depths of a timid heart, like a small blue pool in the dusk of a quiet forest. It may be a career, or it may be damnation. It may be the path to Heaven, or the ruby tinted road that is said to lead to Hell. It may be a dream that can never come true. Or it may be a scarlet cloak, worn for an evening, and then cast aside....

That was what it had been to Sara Foster—a particularly becoming cloak, that she wrapped around her slim shoulders, with that instinct for fold and drapery which some girls are born with; and which she assumed as it pleased her, and which, though it always looked the same, was not always the same ... because when one scarlet cloak became a little passe, Sara casually tossed it aside for another. One love, asserted Sara, was as dowdy as one pair of slippers. You had to have them to match your moods or your frocks. She was nineteen, and she had brown hair that grew close to her small boy's head in innumerable exasperating and adorable curls. She looked like a little Madonna gone somewhat astray.

She said to Henry Adams, who had met her for the first time two days before, with the frankness which characterizes the late teens and early twenties nowadays:

"This is the devil of a house party. Blah. Utterly and totally blah." She wriggled her creamy shoulders impatiently in the straps of her rather ingenue-ish blue frock. "I'd like to put a bomb under the whole thing!" she said.

Across the long room, beyond innumerable sofas and chairs, a couple sat. She had long, drooping lashes, red hair and a profile that invited a sonnet. She appeared thirty, and unashamed of it, quite able to hold her own with twenty-three. He appeared—and was—twenty- one; and his face was a youthful faun's, faintly sunburned, nicely ingenuous. You could see even across the room, that he thought she was the most wonderful woman in the world. Sara looked at them, and as she stared her face seemed to harden. Henry Adams following her stare, felt a faint and thwarted impulse to grin. It was all so obvious.

YOUNG Jimmy had been, at the beginning of the house party, so evidently Sara's latest, that no one had ever thought of them except as a pair. Young Jimmy had haunted Sara, danced with her, disappeared out into the grounds with her for hours on end. Looked at her, as he was now looking at Cecile Jennings. Cecile, who had appeared on the scene with the effect of lightning, blinding most of the younger men. Dazzling Jimmy completely.

It was a good joke, most of the house party agreed. Sara had never had anyone tak...

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