“Doesn’t she just look like butter would melt in her mouth?” Myra Jean overheard the comment and looked up from her book. Arriving in the boarding house dining room a bit late, she had been forced to sit next to the two worst gossips in the place. Following their glances, she looked across the table to see their latest victim. Of course, it was Miss Ryan, the new music teacher at the academy. Like Myra Jean, she was a “come here,” but, judging by her speech from elsewhere in the South.
“Mutton dressed as lamb,” the other gossip whispered loudly. Myra Jean took another look. Perhaps Miss Ryan had stretched the winsome miss look a mite thin, but people couldn’t always afford new clothes these days.
“All dressed up and no place to go,” said the first.
“Oh, she’s probably going over to the movie theater to set her cap for the pianist,” countered the second. Myra Jean couldn’t decide if she was more annoyed by the gossip or the way everyone around here said The Ater and Pea Anist. The gossips then turned their speculations to the Baltimore bachelor with movie star looks whose piano playing accompanied the films. The owner of a prospering resort, he was the best catch in the area.
Myra Jean pushed away her half-finished plate and got up. As she passed Miss Ryan’s rather isolated seat, she leaned over and said quietly, “I have a new phonograph record. Would you like to come to my room and listen to it? It’s Pearl Bailey’s “Lady be good.”
Smiling, Miss Ryan, stood. “Delighted,” she answered. The two women walked out of the dining room together, leaving a wake of whispers behind them.
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