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Alice Adams, Booth Tarkington But it can't be! she protested. Why not? Because it never can be. Men don't change their minds about one another often: they make it quite an event when they do, and talk about it as if something important had happened. But a girl only has to go down-town with a shoe-string unfastened, and every man who sees her will change his mind about her. Don't you know that's true? Not of myself, I think. There! she cried. That's precisely what every man in the world would say! So you wouldn't trust me? Well--I'll be awfully worried if you give 'em a chance to tell you that I'm too lazy to tie my shoe-strings! He laughed delightedly. Is that what they do say? he asked. Just about! Whatever they hope will get results. She shook her head wisely. Oh, yes; we do that here! But I don't mind loose shoe-strings, he said. Not if they're yours. They'll find out what you do mind. But suppose, he said, looking at her whimsically; suppose I wouldn't mind anything--so long as it's yours? She courtesied. Oh, pretty enough! But a girl who's talked about has a weakness that's often a fatal one. What is it? It's this: when she's talked about she isn't THERE. That's how they kill her. I'm afraid I don't follow you. Don't you see? If Henrietta--or Mildred--or any of 'em--or some of their mothers--oh, we ALL do it! Well, if any of 'em told you I didn't tie my shoe-strings, and if I were there, so that you could see me, you'd know it wasn't true.


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