"_I_ was in earnest," she said faintly. "Didn't you see it?"
He was perfectly shameless; he denied that he had seen it, in the most positive manner. "Upon my honor, I thought you were mystifying me, and I humored the joke."
She sighed, and looking at him with an expression of tender reproach. "I wonder whether I can believe you," she said softly.
"Indeed you may believe me!" he assured her.
She hesitated--for the pleasure of hesitating. "I don't know. Emily is very much admired by some men. Why not by you?"
"For the best of reasons," he answered "She is poor, and I am poor. Those are facts which speak for themselves."
"Yes--but Emily is bent on attracting you. She would marry you to-morrow, if you asked her. Don't attempt to deny it! Besides, you kissed her hand."
"Don't call me 'Miss de Sor'! Call me Francine. I want to know why you kissed her hand."