The two ladies were sitting in the living room, waiting for their hostess, who was slightly delayed.
The daughter of the family was with them, on the theory that she would keep the visitors occupied during the wait.
The child was about six years old, snub nosed, freckled, buck toothed and bespectacled. She maintained a deep silence and the two ladies peered doubtfully at her.
Finally one of them muttered to the other "Not very p-r-e-t-t-y, I fear," carefully spelling the key word.
Whereupon the child piped up, "But awfully s-m-a-r-t!"