The Other Two and Souls Belated read

timer Asked: Feb 3rd, 2019
account_balance_wallet $10

Question Description

1. In what ways does Wharton's writing resemble that of Henry James?

2. Why are the couple travelling, and why do they feel the need to try to stop?

3. Why is Lydia so adamant about not marrying Ralph? Do you accept her reasoning? Why or why not?

4. What harm could result to Lydia and Ralph from gossip?

5. Who are Lord Trevanna and Mrs. Cope, and why is their situation important?

6. Why does Lydia hesitate at the end of the story? How do you explain Gannett's reaction to the decision she finally makes?

Souls Belated by Edith Wharton (1862-1937) Approximate Word Count: 10669 I T heir railway carriage had been full when the train left Bologna; but at the first station beyond Milan their only remaining companion a courtly person who ate garlic out of a carpetbag had left his crumbstrewn seat with a bow. Lydia's eye regretfully followed the shiny broadcloth of his retreating back till it lost itself in the cloud of touts and cab drivers hanging about the station; then she glanced across at Gannett and caught the same regret in his look. They were both sorry to be alone. "Par-ten-za!" shouted the guard. The train vibrated to a sudden slamming of doors; a waiter ran along the platform with a tray of fossilized sandwiches; a belated porter flung a bundle of shawls and band-boxes into a third-class carriage; the guard snapped out a brief Partenza!which indicated the purely ornamental nature of his first shout; and the train swung out of the station. The direction of the road had changed, and a shaft of sunlight struck across the dusty red velvet seats into Lydia's corner. Gannett did not notice it. He had returned to his Revue de Paris, and she had to rise and lower the shade of the farther window. Against the vast horizon of their leisure such incidents stood out sharply. Having lowered the shade, Lydia sat down, leaving the length of the carriage between herself and Gannett. At length he missed her and looked up. I moved out of the sun," she hastily explained. He looked at her curiously: the sun was beating on her through the shade. "Very well," he said pleasantly; adding, "You don't mind?" as he drew a cigarette case from his pocket. It was a refreshing touch, relieving the tension of her spirit with the suggestion that, after all, if he could smoke! The relief was only momentary. Her experience of smokers was limited (her husband had disapproved of the use of tobacco) but she knew from hearsay that men sometimes smoked to get away from things; that a cigar might be the masculine equivalent of darkened windows and a headache. Gannett, after a puff or two, returned to his review. It was just as she had foreseen; he feared to speak as much as she did. It was one of the misfortunes of their situation that they were never busy enough to necessitate, or even to justify, the postponement of unpleasant discussions. If they avoided a question it was disagreeable. They had unlimited leisure and an accumulation of mental energy to devote to any subject that presented itself; new topics were in fact at a premium. Lydia sometimes had premonitions of a famine-stricken period when there would be nothing left to talk about, and she had already caught herself doling out piecemeal what, in the first prodigality of their confidences, she would have flung to him in a breath. Their silence therefore might simply mean that they had nothing to say; but it was another disadvantage of their position that it allowed infinite opportunity for the classification of minute differences. Lydia had learned to distinguish between real and factitious silences; and under Gannett's she now detected a hum of speech to which her own thoughts made breathless answer. How could it be otherwise, with that thing between them? She glanced up at the rack overhead. The thing was there, in her dressing bag, symbolically suspended over her head and his. He was thinking of it now, just as she was; they had been thinking of it in unison ever since they had entered the train. While the carriage had held other travelers they had screened her from his thought; but now that he and she were alone she knew exactly what was passing through his mind; she could almost hear him asking himself what he should say to her. The thing had come that morning, brought up to her in an innocentlooking envelope with the rest of their letters, as they were leaving the hotel at Bologna. As she tore it open, she and Gannett were laughing over some ineptitude of the local guidebook they had been driven, of late, to make the most of such incidental humors of travel. Even when she had unfolded the document she took it for some unimportant business paper sent abroad for her signature, and her eye traveled inattentively over the curly Whereases of the preamble until a word arrested her: Divorce. There it stood, an impassable barrier, between her husband's name and hers. She had been prepared for it, of course, as healthy people are said to be prepared for death, in the sense of knowing it must come without in the least expecting that it will. She had known from the first that Tillotson meant to divorce her but what did it matter? Nothing mattered, in those first days of supreme deliverance, but the fact that she was free; and not so much (she had begun to be aware) that freedom had released her from Tillotson as that it had given her to Gannett. This discovery had not been agreeable to her self-esteem. She had preferred to think that Tillotson had himself embodied all her reasons for leaving him; and those he represented had seemed cogent enough to stand in no need of reinforcement. Yet she had not left him till she met Gannett. It was her love for Gannett that had made life with Tillotson so poor and incomplete a business. If she had never, from the first, regarded her marriage as a full cancelling of her claims upon life, she had at least, for a number of years, accepted it as a provisional compensation, she had made it "do." Existence in the commodious Tillotson mansion in Fifth Avenue with Mrs. Tillotson senior commanding the approaches from the second-story front windows had been reduced to a series of purely automatic acts. The moral atmosphere of the Tillotson interior was as carefully screened and curtained as the house itself: Mrs. Tillotson senior dreaded ideas as much as a draft in her back. Prudent people liked an even temperature; and to do anything unexpected was as foolish as going out in the rain. One of the chief advantages of being rich was that one need not be exposed to unforeseen contingencies: by the use of ordinary firmness and common sense one could make sure of doing exactly the same thing every day at the same hour. These doctrines, reverentially imbibed with his mother's milk, Tillotson (a model son who had never given his parents an hour's anxiety) complacently expounded to his wife, testifying to his sense of their importance by the regularity with which he wore galoshes on damp days, his punctuality at meals, and his elaborate precautions against burglars and contagious diseases. Lydia, coming from a smaller town, and entering New York life through the portals of the Tillotson mansion, had mechanically accepted this point of view as inseparable from having a front pew in church and a parterre box at the opera. All the people who came to the house revolved in the same small circle of predjudices. It was the kind of society in which, after dinner, the ladies compared the exorbitant charges of thier children's teachers, and agreed that, even with the new duties on French clothes, it was cheaper in the end to get everything from Worth; while the husbands, over their cigars, lamented municipal corruption, and decided that the men to start a reform were those who had no private interests at stake. To Lydia this view of life had become a matter of course, just as lumbering about in her mother-in-law's locomotion, and listening every Sunday to fashionable Presbyterian divine the inevitable atonement for having thought oneself bored on the other six days of the week. Before she met Gannett her life had seemed merely dull; his coming made it appear like one of those dismal Cruikshank prints in which the people are all ugly and all engaged in occupations that are either vulgar or stupid. It was natural that Tillotson should be the chief sufferer from this readjustment of focus. Gannett's nearness had made her husband ridiculous, and a part of the ridicule had been reflected on herself. Her tolerance laid her open to a suspicion of obtuseness from which she must, at all costs, clear herself in Gannett's eyes. She did not understand this until afterwards. At the time she fancied that she had merely reached the limits of endurance. In so large a charter of liberties as the mere act of leaving Tillotson seemed to confer, the small question of divorce or no divorce did not count. It was when she saw that she had left her husband only to be with Gannett that she perceived the significance of anything affecting their relations. Her husband, in casting her off, had virtually flung her at Gannett: it was thus that the world viewed it. The measure of alacrity with which Gannett would receive her would be the subject of curious speculation over afternoon tea tables and in club corners. She knew what would be said she had heard it so often of others! The recollection bathed her in misery. The men would probably back Gannett to "do the decent thing"; but the ladies' eyebrows would emphasize the worthlessness of such enforced fidelity; and after all, they would be right. She had put herself in a position where Ganett "owed" her something; where, as a gentleman, he was bound to "stand the damage." The idea of accepting such compensation had never crossed her mind; the so-called rehabilitation of such a marriage had always seemed to her the only real disgrace. What she dreaded was the necessity of having to explain herself; of having to combat his arguments; of calculating, in spite of herself, the exact measure of insistence with which he presssed them. She knew not whether she most shrank from his insisting too much or too little. In such a case the nicest sense of proportion might be at fault; and how easily to fall into the error of taking her resistance for a test of his sincerity! Whichever way she turned, an ironical implication confronted her: she had the exasperated sense of having walked into the trap of some stupid practical joke. Beneath all these preoccupations lurked the dread of what he was thinking. Sooner or later, of course, he would have to speak; but that, in the meantime, he should think, even for a moment that there was any use in speaking, seemed to her simply unendurable. Her sensitiveness on this point was aggravated by another fear, as yet barely on the level of consciousness; the fear of unwillingly involving Gannett in the trammels of her dependence. To look upon him as the instrument of her liberation; to resist in herself the least tendency to a wifely taking possession of his future; had seemed to Lydia the one way of maintaining the dignity of their relation. Her view had not changed, but she was aware of a growing inability to keep her thoughts fixed on the essential point the point of parting with Gannett. It was easy to face as long as she kept it sufficiently far off: but what was this act of mental postponement but a gradual encroachment on his future? What was needful was the courage to recognize the moment when by some word or look, their voluntary fellowship should be transformed into a bondage the more wearing that it was based on none of those common obligations which make the most imperfect marriage in some sort a center of gravity. When the porter, at the next station, threw the door open, Lydia drew back, making way for the hoped-for intruder; but none came, and the train took up its leisurely progress through the spring wheat fields and budding copses. She now began to hope that Gannett would speak before the next station. She watched him furtively, half-disposed to return to the seat opposite his, but there was an artificiality about his absorption that restrained her. She had never before seen him read with so conspicuous an air of warding off interruption. What could he be thinking of? Why should he be afraid to speak? Or was it her answer that he dreaded?. The train paused for the passing of an express, and he put down his book and leaned out of the window. Presently he turned to her with a smile. "There's a jolly old villa out here," he said. His easy tone relieved her, and she smiled back at him as she crossed over to his corner. Beyond the embankment, through the opening in a mossy wall, she caught sight of the villa, with its broken balustrades, its stagnant fountains, and the stone satyr closing the perspective of a dusky grass walk. "How should you like to live there?" he asked as the train moved on. "There?" "In some such place, I mean. One might do worse, don't you think so? There must be at least two centuries of solitude under those yew trees. Shouldn't you like it?" "I don't know," she faltered. She knew now that he meant to speak. He lit another cigarette. "We shall have to live somewhere, you know," he said as he bent above the match. Lydia tried to speak carelessly. "Je n'en vois pas la necessite! Why not live everywhere, as we have been doing?" "But we can't travel forever, can we? "Oh, forever's a long word," she objected, picking up the review he had thrown aside. "For the rest of our lives then," he said, moving nearer. She made a slight gesture which caused his hand to slip from hers. "Why should we make plans? I thought you agreed with me that it's pleasanter to drift." He looked at her hesitatingly. "It's been pleasant, certainly; but I suppose I shall have to get at my work again some day. You know I haven't written a line since all this time," he hastily amended. She flamed with sympathy and self-reproach. "Oh, if you mean that if you want to write of course we must settle down. How stupid of me not to have thought of it sooner! Where shall we go? Where do you think you could work best? We oughtn't to lose any more time." He hesitated again. "I had thought of a villa in these parts. It's quiet; we shouldn't be bothered. Should you like it?" "Of course I should like it." She paused and looked away. "But I thought I remember your telling me once that your best work had been done in a crowd in big cities. Why should you shut yourself up in a desert?" Gannett, for a moment, made no reply. At length he said, avoiding her eye as carefully as she avoided his: "It might be different now; I can't tell, of course, till I try. A writer ought not be dependent on his milieu, it's a mistake to humor oneself in that way; and I thought that just at first you might prefer to be." She faced him. "To be what?" "Well quiet. I mean." "What do you mean by 'at first'?" she interruped. He paused again. "I mean after we are married." She thrust up her chin and turned toward the window. "Thank you!" she tossed back at him. "Lydia!" he exclaimed blankly; and she felt in every fiber of her averted person that he had made the inconceivable, the unpardonable mistake of anticipating her acquiescence. The train rattled on and he groped for a third cigarette. Lydia remained silent. "I haven't offended you?" he ventured at length, in the tone of a man who feels his way. She shook her head with a sigh. "I thought you understood," she moaned. Their eyes met and she moved back to his side. "Do you want to know how not to offend me? By taking it for granted, once for all, that you've said your say on the odious question and that I've said mine, and that we stand just where we did this morning before that that hateful paper came to spoil everything between us!" "To spoil everything between us? What on earth do you mean? Aren't you glad to be free?" "I was free before." "Not to marry me," he suggested. But I don't want to marry you!" she cried. She saw that he turned pale. "I'm obtuse, I suppose," he said slowly. "I confess I don't see what you're driving at. Are you tired of the whole business? Or was I simply an excuse for getting away? Perhaps you didn't care to travel alone? Was that it? And now you want to chuck me?" His voice had grown harsh. "You owe me a straight answer, you know; don't be tenderhearted!" Her eyes swam as she leaned to him. "Don't you see it's because I care because I care so much? Oh, Ralph! Can't you see how it would humiliate me? Try to feel it as a woman would! Don't you see the misery of being made your wife in this way? If I'd known you as a girl that would have been a real marriage! But now this vulgar fraud upon society and upon a society we despised and laughed at this sneaking back into a position that we've voluntarily foreited: don't you see what a cheap compromise it is? We neither of us believe in the abstract 'sacredness' of marriage; we both know that no ceremony is needed to consecrate our love for each other; what object can we have in marrying, except the secret fear of each that the other may escape, or the secret longing to work our way back graduallyoh, very gradually into the esteem of the people whose conventional morality we have always ridiculed and hated? And the very fact that, after a decent interval, these same people would come and dine with us the women who would let me die in a gutter today because I am 'leading a life of sin doesn't that disgust you more than their turning their backs on us now? I can stand being cut by them, but I couldn't stand their coming to call and asking what I meant to do about visiting that unfortunate Mrs. So-and-so!" She paused, and Gannett maintained a perplexed silence. "You judge things too theoretically," he said at length, slowly. "Life is made up of compromises." "The life we ran away from yes! If we had been willing to accept them "she flushed" we might have gone on meeting each other at Mrs. Tillotson's dinners." He smiled slightly. "I didn't know that we ran away to found a new system of ethics. I supposed it was because we loved each other." "Life is complex, of course; isn't it the very recognition of that fact that separates us from the people who see it tout d'une piece? If they are right, if marriage is sacred in itself and the individual must always be sacrificed to the family then there can be no real marriage between us, since our being together is a protest against the sacrifice of the individual to the family." She interrupted herself with a laugh. "You'll say now that I'm giving you a lecture on sociology! Of course one acts as one can as one must, perhaps pulled by all sorts of invisible threads; but at least one needn't pretend, for social advantages, to subscribe to a creed that ignores the complexity of human motives that classifies people by arbitrary signs, and puts it in everybody's reach to be on Mrs. Tillotson's visiting list. It may be necessary that the world should be ruled by conventions but if we believed in them, why did we break through them? And if we don't believe in them, is it honest to take advantage of the protection they afford?" Gannett hesitated. "One may believe in them or not; but as long as they do rule the world it is only by taking advantage of their protection that one can find a modus vivendi." "Do outlaws need a modus vivendi?" He looked at her hopelessly. Nothing is more perplexing to man than the mental process of a woman who reasons her emotions. She thought she had scored a point and followed it up passionately. "You do understand, don't you? You see how the very thought of the thing humiliates me! We are together today because we choose to be don't let us look any farther than that!" She caught his hands. "Promise me you'll never speak of it again; promise me you'll never think of it even," she implored, with a tearful prodigality of italics. Through what followed his protests, his arguments, his final unconvinced submission to her wishes she had a sense of his but halfdiscerning all that, for her, had made the moment so tumultuous. They had reached that memorable point in every heart history when, for the first time, the man seems obtuse and the woman irrational. It was the abundance of his intentions that consoled her, on reflection, for what they lacked in quality. After all, it would have been worse, incalculably worse, to have detected any overreadiness to understand her. II W hen the train at nightfall brought them to their journey's end at the edge of one of the lakes, Lydia was glad that they were not, as usual, to pass from one solitude to another. Their wanderings during the year had indeed been like the flight of the outlaws: through Sicily, Dalmatia, Translyvania and Southern Italy they had persisted in their tacit avoidance of their kind. Isolation, at first, had deepened the flavor of their happiness, as night intensifies the scent of certain flowers; but in the new phase on which they were entering, Lydia's chief wish was that they should be less abnormally exposed to the action of each other's thoughts. She shrank, nevertheless, as the brightly-looming bulk of the fashionable Anglo-American hotel on the water's brink began to radiate toward their advancing boat its vivid suggestion of social order, visitors' lists, Church services, and the bland inquisition of the table d'hote. The mere fact that in a moment or two she must take her place on the hotel register as Mrs. Gannett seemed to weaken the springs of her resistance. They had meant to stay for a night only, on their way to a lofty village among the glaciers of Monte Rosa; but after the first plunge into publicity, when they entered the dining room, Lydia felt the relief of being lost in a crowd, of ceasing for a moment to be the center of Gannett's scrutiny; and in his face she caught the reflection of her feeling. After dinner, when she went upstairs, he strolled into the smoking room, and an hour or two later, sitting in the darkness of her window, she heard his voice below and saw him walking up and down the terrace with a companion cigar at his side. When he came he told her he had been talking to the hotel chaplain a very good sort of fellow. "Queer little microcosms, these hotels! Most of these people live here all summer and then migrate to Italy or the Riviera. The English are the only people who can lead that kind of life with dignity those soft-voiced old ladies in Shetland shawls somehow carry the British Empire under their caps. Civis Romanus sum. It's a curious study there might be some good things to work up here." He stood before her with the vivid preoccupied stare of the novelist on the trail of a "subject." With a relief that was half painful she noticed that, for the first time since they had been together, he was hardly aware of her presence. "Do you think you could write here?" "Here? I don't know." His stare dropped. "After being out of things so long one's first impressions are bound to be tremendously vivid, you know. I see a dozen threads already that one might follow " He broke off with a touch of embarrassment. "Then follow them. We'll stay," she said with sudden decision. "Stay here?" He glanced at her in surprise, and then, walking to the window, looked out upon the dusky slumber of the garden. "Why not?" she said at length, in a tone of veiled irritation. "The place is full of old cats in caps who gossip with the chaplain. Shall you like I mean, it would be different if " She flamed up. "Do you suppose I care? It's none of their business." "Of course not; but you won't get them to think so." "They may think what they please." He looked at her doubtfully. "It's for you to decide." "We'll stay," she repeated. Gannett, before they met, had made himself known as a successful writer of short stories and of a novel which had achieved the distinction of being widely discussed. The reviewers called him "promising," and Lydia now accused herself of having too long interfered with the fulfillment of his promise. There was a special irony in the fact, since his passionate assurance that only the stimulus of her companionship could bring out his latent faculty had almost given the dignity of a "vocation" to her course: there had been moments when she had felt unable to assume, before posterity, the responsibility of thwarting his career. And, after all, he had not written a line since they had been together: his first desire to write had come from renewed contact with the world! Was it all a mistake then? Must the most intelligent choice work more disastrously than the blundering combinations of chance? Or was there a still more humiliating answer to her perplexities? His sudden imp! ulse of activity so exactly coincided with her own wish to withdraw, for a time, from the range of his observation, that she wondered if he too were not seeking sanctuary from intolerable problems. "You must begin tomorrow!" she cried, hiding a tremor under the laugh with which she added, "I wonder if there's any ink in the inkstand?" Whatever else they had at the Hotel Bellosguardo, they had, as Miss Pinsent said, "a certain tone." It was to Lady Susan Condit that they owed this inestimable benefit; an advantage ranking in Miss Pinsent's opinion above even the lawn tennis courts and the resident chaplain. It was the fact of Lady Susan's annual visit that made the hotel what it was. Miss Pinsent was certainly the last to underrate such a privilege: "It's so important, my dear, forming as we do a little family, that there should be someone to give the tone; and no one could do it better than Lady Susan an earl's daughter and a person of such determination. Dear Mrs. Ainger now who really ought, you know, when Lady Susan's away absolutely refuses to assert herself." Miss Pinsent sniffed derisively. "A bishop's niece! my dear, I saw her once actually give in to some South Americans and before us all. She gave up her seat at table to oblige them such a lack of ! dignity! Lady Susan spoke to her very plainly about it afterwards." Miss Pinsent glanced across the lake and adjusted her auburn front. "But of course I don't deny that the stand Lady Susan takes is not always easy to live up to for the rest of us, I mean. Monsieur Grossart, our good proprietor, finds it trying at times, I know he has said as much, privately, to Mrs. Ainger and me. After all, the poor man is not to blame for wanting to fill his hotel, is he? And Lady Susan is so difficult so very difficult about new people. One might almost say that she disapproves of them beforehand, on principle. And yet she's had warnings she very nearly made a dreadful mistake once with the Duchess of Levens, who dyed her hair and well, swore and smoked. One would have thought that might have been a lesson to Lady Susan." Miss Pinsent resumed her knitting with a sigh. "There are exceptions, of course. She took at once to you and Mr. Gannett it was quite remarkable, really. Oh, I don't mean that either of course not! It was perfectly natural we all thought you so charming and interesting form the first day we knew at once that Mr. Gannett was intellectual, by the magazines you took in; but you know what I mean. Lady Susan is so very well, I won't say prejudiced, as Mrs. Ainger does but so prepared not to like new people, that her taking to you in that way was a surprise to us all, I confess." Miss Pinsent sent a significant glance down the long laurustinus alley from the other end of which two people a lady and a gentleman were strolling toward them through the smiling neglect of the garden. "In this case, of course, it's very different; that I'm willing to admit. Their looks are against them; but, as Mrs. Ainger says, one can't exactly tell them so." "She's very handsome," Lydia ventured, with her eyes on the lady, who showed, under the dome of a vivid sunshade, the hourglass figure and superlative coloring of a Christmas chromo. "That's the worst of it. She's too handsome." "Well, after all, she can't help that." "Other people manage to," said Miss Pinsent skeptically. "But isn't it rather unfair of Lady Susan considering that nothing is known about them?" "But my dear, that's the very thing that's against them. It's infinitely worse than any actual knowledge." Lydia mentally agreed that, in the case of Mrs. Linton, it possibly might be. "I wonder why they came here?" she mused. "That's against them too. It's always a bad sign when loud people come to a quiet place. And they've brought van loads of boxes her maid told Mrs. Ainger's that they meant to stop indefinitely." "And Lady Susan actually turned her back on her in the salon?" "My dear, she said it was for our sakes; that makes it so unanswerable! But poor Grossart is in a way! The Lintons have taken his most expressive suite, you know the yellow damask drawing room above the portico and they have champagne with every meal!" They were silent as Mr. and Mrs. Linton sauntered by; the lady with tempestuous brows and challenging chin; the gentleman, a blond stripling, trailing after her, head downward, like a reluctant child dragged by his nurse. "What does your husband think of them, my dear?" Miss Pinsent whispered as they passed out of earshot. Lydia stooped to pick a violet in the border. "He hasn't told me." "Of your speaking to them, I mean. Would he approve of that? I know how very particular nice Americans are. I think your action might make a difference; it would certainly carry weight with Lady Susan." "Dear Miss Pinsent, you flatter me!" Lydia rose and gathered up her book and sunshade. "Well, if you're asked for an opinion if Lady Susan asks you for one I think you ought to be prepared," Miss Pinsent admonished her as she moved away. III L ady Susan held her own. She ignored the Lintons, and her little family, as Miss Pinsent phrased it, followed suit. Even Mrs. Ainger agreed that it was obligatory. If Lady Susan owed it to the others not to speak to the Lintons, the others clearly owed it to Lady Susan to back her up. It was generally found expedient, at the Hotel Bellosguardo, to adopt this form of reasoning. Whatever effect this combined action may have had upon the Lintons, it did not at least have that of driving them away. Monsieur Grossart, after a few days of suspense, had the satisfaction of seeing them settle down in his yellow damask premier with what looked like a permanent installation of palm trees and silk cushions, and a gratifying continuance in the consumption of champagne. Mrs. Linton trailed her Doucet draperies up and down the garden with the same challenging air, while her husband, smoking innumerable cigarettes, dragged himself dejectedly in her wake; but neither of them, after the first encounter with Lady Susan, made any attempt to extend their acquaintance. They simply ignored their ignorers. As Miss Pinsent resentfully observed, they behaved exactly as though the hotel were empty. It was therefore a matter of surprise, as well as of displeasure, to Lydia, to find, on glancing up one day from her seat in the garden, that the shadow which had fallen across her book was that of the enigmatic Mrs. Linton. "I want to speak to you," that lady said, in a rich hard voice that seemed the audible expression of her gown and her complexion. Lydia started. She certainly did not want to speak to Mrs. Linton. "Shall I sit down here?" the latter continued, fixing her intensely-shaded eyes on Lydia's face, "or are you afraid of being seen with me?" "Afraid?" Lydia colored. "Sit down, please. What is it that you wish to say?" Mrs. Linton, with a smile, drew up a garden chair and crossed one openwork ankle above the other. "I want you to tell me what my husband said to your husband last night." Lydia turned pale. "My husband to yours?" she faltered, staring at the other. "Didn't you know they were closeted together for hours in the smoking room after you went upstairs? My man didn't get to bed until nearly two o'clock and when he did I couldn't get a word out of him. When he wants to be aggravating I'll back him against anybody living!" Her teeth and eyes flashed persuasively upon Lydia. "But you'll tell me what they were talking about, won't you? I know I can trust you you look so awfully kind. And it's for his own good. He's such a precious donkey and I'm so afraid he's got into some beastly scrape or other. If he'd only trust his own old woman! But they're always writing to him and setting him against me. And I've got nobody to turn to." She laid her hand on Lydia's with a rattle of bracelets. "You'll help me, won't you?" Lydia drew back from the smiling fierceness of her brows. "I'm sorry but I don't think I understand. My husband has said nothing to me of of yours." The great black crescents above Mrs. Linton's eyes met angrily. "I say is that true?" she demanded. Lydia rose from her seat. "Oh, look here, I didn't mean that, you know you mustn't take one up so! Can't you see how rattled I am?" Lydia saw that, in fact, her beautiful mouth was quivering beneath softened eyes. "I'm beside myself!" the splendid creature wailed, dropping into her seat. "I'm so sorry," Lydia repeated, forcing herself to speak kindly; "but how can I help you?" Mrs. Linton raised her head sharply. "By finding out there's a darling!" "Finding what out?" "What Trevenna told him." "Trevenna ?" Lydia echoed in bewilderment. Mrs. Linton clapped her hand to her mouth. "Oh, Lord there, it's out! What a fool I am! But I supposed of course you knew; I supposed everybody knew." She dried her eyes and bridled. "Didn't you know that he's Lord Trevenna? I'm Mrs. Cope." Lydia recognized the names. They had figured in a flamboyant elopement which had thrilled fashionable London some six months earlier. "Now you see how it is you understand, don't you?" Mrs. Cope continued on a note of appeal. "I knew you would that's the reason I came to you. I suppose he felt the same thing about your husband; he's not spoken to another soul in the place." Her face grew anxious again. "He's awfully sensitive, generally he feels our position, he says as if it wasn't my place to feel that! But when he does get talking there's no knowing what he'll say. I know he's been brooding over something lately, and I must find out what it is it's to his interest that I should. I always tell him that I think only of his interest; if he'd only trust me! But he's been so odd lately I can't think what he's plotting. You will help me, dear?" Lydia, who had remained standing, looked away uncomfortably. "If you mean by finding out what Lord Trevenna has told my husband, I'm afraid it's impossible." "Why impossible?" "Because I infer that is was told in confidence." Mrs. Cope stared incredulously. "Well, what of that? Your husband looks such a dear anyone can see he's awfully gone on you. What's to prevent your getting it out of him?" Lydia flushed. "I'm not a spy!" she exclaimed. "A spy a spy? How dare you?" Mrs. Cope flamed out. "Oh, I don't mean that either! Don't be angry with me I'm so miserable." She essayed a softer note. "Do you call that spying for one woman to help out another? I do need help so dreadfully! I'm at my wits' end with Trevenna, I am indeed. He's such a boy a mere baby, you know; he's only two-andtwenty." She dropped her orbed lids. "He's younger than me only fancy, a few months younger. I tell him he ought to listen to me as if I was his mother, oughtn't he now? But he won't, he won't! All his people are at him, you see oh, I know their little game! Trying to get him away from me before I can get my divorce that's what they're up to. At first he wouldn't listen to them; he used to toss their letters over to me to read; but now he reads them himself, and answers 'em too, I fancy; he's always shut up in his room, writing. If I only knew what his plan is I could stop him fa! st enough he's such a simpleton. But he's dreadfully deep too at times I can't make him out. but I know he's told your husband everything I knew that last night the minute I laid eyes on him. And I must find out you must help me I've got no one else to turn to!" She caught Lydia's fingers in a stormy pressure. "Say you'll help me you and your husband." Lydia tried to free herself. "What you ask is impossible; you must see that it is. No one could interfere in in the way you ask." Mrs. Cope's clutch tightened. "You won't, then? You won't?" "Certainly not. Let me go, please." Mrs. Cope released her with a laugh. "Oh, go by all means pray don't let me detain you! Shall you go and tell Lady Susan Condit that there's a pair of us or shall I save you the trouble of enlightening her?" Lydia stood still in the middle of the path, seeing her antagonist through a mist of terror. Mrs. Cope was still laughing. "Oh, I'm not spiteful by nature, my dear; but you're a little more than flesh and blood can stand! It's impossible, is it? Let you go, indeed! You're too good to be mixed up in my affairs, are you? Why, you little fool, the first day I laid eyes on you I saw that you and I were both in the same box that's the reason I spoke to you." She stepped nearer, her smile dilating on Lydia like a lamp through a fog. "You can take your choice, you know; I always play fair. If you'll tell I'll promise not to. Now then, which is it to be?" Lydia, involuntarily, had begun to move away from the pelting storm of words; but at this she turned and sat down again. "You may go," she said simply. "I shall stay here." IV S he stayed there for a long time, in the hypnotized contemplation, not of Mrs. Cope's present, but of her own past. Gannett, early that morning, had gone off on a long walk he had fallen into the habit of taking these mountain tramps with various fellow lodgers; but even had he been within reach she could not have gone to him just then. She had to deal with herself first. She was surprised to find how, in the last months, she had lost the habit of introspection. Since their coming to the Hotel Bellosguardo she and Gannett had tacitly avoided themselves and each other. She was aroused by the whistle of the three o'clock steamboat as it neared the landing just beyond the hotel gates. Three o'clock! Then Gannett would soon be back he had told her to expect him before four. She rose hurriedly, her face averted from the inquisitorial facade of the hotel. She could not see him just yet; she could not go indoors. She slipped through one of the overgrown garden alleys and climbed a steep path to the hills. It was dark when she opened their sitting-room door. Gannett was sitting on the window ledge smoking a cigarette. Cigarettes were now his chief resource: he had not written a line during the two months they had spent at the Hotel Bellosguardo. In that respect, it had turned out not to be the right milieu after all. He started up at Lydia's entrance. "Where have you been? I was getting anxious." She sat down in a chair near the door. "Up the mountain," she said wearily. "Alone?" "Yes." Gannett threw away his cigarette: the sound of her voice made him want to see her face. "Shall we have a little light?" he suggested. She made no answer and he lifted the globe from the lamp and put a match to the wick. Then he looked at her. "Anything wrong? You look done up." She sat glancing vaguely about the little sitting room, dimly lit by the pallid-globed lamp, which left in twilight the outlines of the furniture, of his writing table heaped with books and papers, of the tea roses and jasmine drooping on the mantelpiece. How like home it had all grown how like home! "Lydia, what is wrong?" he repeated. She moved away from him, feeling for her hatpins and turning to lay her hat and sunshade on the table. Suddenly she said: "That woman has been talking to me." Gannett stared. "That woman? What woman?" "Mrs. Linton Mrs. Cope." He gave a start of annoyance, still, as she perceived, not grasping the full import of her words. "The deuce! She told you ?" "She told me everything." Gannett looked at her anxiously. "What impudence! I'm so sorry that you should have been exposed to this, dear." "Exposed!" Lydia laughed. Gannett's brow clouded and they looked away from each other. "Do you know why she told me? She had the best of reasons. The first time she laid eyes on me she saw that we were both in the same box." "Lydia!" "So it was natural, of course, that she should turn to me in a difficulty." "What difficulty?" "It seems she has reason to think that Lord Trevenna's people are trying to get him away from her before she gets her divorce " "Well?" "And she fancied he had been consulting with you last night as to as to the best way of escaping from her." Gannett stood up with an angry forehead. "Well what concern of yours was all this dirty business? Why should she go to you?" "Don't you see? It's so simple. I was to wheedle his secret out of you." "To oblige that woman?" "Yes; or, if I was unwilling to oblige her, then to protect myself." "To protect yourself? Against whom?" "Against her telling everyone in the hotel that she and I are in the same box." "She threatened that?" "She left me the choice of telling it myself or of doing it for me." "The beast!" There was a long silence. Lydia had seated herself on the sofa, beyond the radius of the lamp, and he leaned against the window. His next question surprised her. "When did this happen? At what time, I mean?" She looked at him vaguely. "I don't know after luncheon, I think. Yes, I remember, it must have been at about three o'clock." He stepped into the middle of the room and as he approached the light she saw that his brow had cleared. "Why do you ask?" she said. "Because when I came in, at about half-past three, the mail was just being distributed, and Mrs. Cope was waiting as usual to pounce on her letters; you know she was always watching for the postman. She was standing so close to me that I couldn't help seeing a big official-looking envelope that was handed to her. She tore it open, gave one look at the inside, and rushed off upstairs like a whirlwind, with the director shouting after her that she had left all her other letters behind. I don't believe she ever thought of you again after that paper was put into her hand." "Why?" "Because she was too busy. I was sitting in the window, watching for you, when the five o'clock boat left, and who should go on board, bag and baggage, valet and maid, dressing bags and poodle, but Mrs. Cope and Trevenna. Just an hour and a half to pack up in! And you should have seen her when they started. She was radiant shaking hands with everybody waving her handkerchief from the deck 8212distributing bows and smiles like an empress. If ever a woman got what she wanted just in the nick of time that woman did. She'll be Lady Trevenna within a week, I'll wager." "You think she has her divorce?" "I'm sure of it. And she must have got it just after her talk with you." Lydia was silent. At length she said, with a kind of reluctance, "She was horribly angry when she left me. It wouldn't have taken long to tell Lady Susan Condit." "Lady Susan Condit has not been told." "How do you you know." "Because when I went downstairs half an hour ago I met Lady Susan on the way " He stopped, half smiling. "Well?" "And she stopped to ask if I thought you would act as patroness to a charity concert she is getting up." In spite of themselves they both broke into a laugh. Lydia's ended in sobs and she sank down with her face hidden. Gannett bent over her, seeking her hands. "That vile woman I ought to have warned you to keep away from her; I can't forgive myself! But he spoke to me in confidence; and I never dreamed well, it's all over now." Lydia lifted her head. "Not for me. It's only just beginning." "What do you mean?" She put him gently aside and moved in her turn to the window. Then she went on, with her face turned toward the shimmering blackness of the lake, "You see of course that it might happen again at any moment." "What?" "This this risk of being found out. And we could hardly count again on such a lucky combination of chances, could we?" He sat down with a groan. Still keeping her face toward the darkness, she said, "I want you to go and tell Lady Susan and the others." Gannett, who had moved towards her, paused a few feet off. "Why do you wish me to do this?" he said at length, with less surprise in his voice than she had been prepared for. "Because I've behaved basely, abominably, since we came here: letting these people believe we were married lying with every breath I drew " "Yes, I've felt that too," Gannett exclaimed with sudden energy. The words shook her like a tempest: all her thoughts seemed to fall about her in ruins. "You you've felt so?" "Of course I have." He spoke with low-voiced vehemence. "Do you suppose I like playing the sneak any better than you do? It's damnable." He had dropped on the arm of a chair, and they stared at each other like blind people who suddenly see. "But you have liked it here," she faltered. "Oh, I've liked it I've liked it." He moved impatiently. "Haven't you?" "Yes," she burst out; "that's the worst of it that's what I can't bear. I fancied it was for your sake that I insisted on staying because you thought you could write here; and perhaps just at first that really was the reason. But afterwards I wanted to stay myself I loved it." She broke into a laugh. "Oh, do you see the full derision of it? These people the very prototypes of the bores you took me away from, with the same fenced-in view of life, the same keep-off-the-grass morality, the same little cautious virtues and the same little frightened vices well, I've clung to them, I've delighted in them, I've done my best to please them. I've toadied Lady Susan, I've gossiped with Miss Pinsent, I've pretended to be shocked with Mrs. Ainger. Respectability! It was the one thing in life that I was sure I didn't care about, and it's grown so precious to me that I've stolen it because I couldn't get it any other way." She moved across the room and returned to his side with another laugh. "I who used to fancy myself unconventional! I must have been born with a cardcase in my hand. You should have seen me with that poor woman in the garden. She came to me for help, poor creature, because she fancied that, having 'sinned,' as they call it, I might feel some pity for others who had been tempted in the same way. Not I! She didn't know me. Lady Susan would have been kinder, because Lady Susan wouldn't have been afraid. I hated the woman my one thought was not to be seen with her I could have killed her for guessing my secret. The one thing that mattered to me at that moment was my standing with Lady Susan!" Gannett did not speak. "And you you've felt it too!" she broke out accusingly. "You've enjoyed being with these people as much as I have; you've let the chaplain talk to you by the hour about The Reign of Law and Professor Drummond. When they asked you to hand the plate in church I was watching you you wanted to accept." She stepped close, laying her hand on his arm. "Do you know, I begin to see what marriage is for. It's to keep people away from each other. Sometimes I think that two people who love each other can be saved from madness only by the things that come between them children, duties, visits, bores, relations the things that protect married people from each other. We've been too close together-that has been our sin. We've seen the nakedness of each other's souls." She sank again on the sofa, hiding her face in her hands. Gannett stood above her perplexedly: he felt as though she were being swept away by some implacable current while he stood helpless on its bank. At length he said, "Lydia, don't think me a brute but don't you see yourself that it won't do?" "Yes, I see it won't do," she said without raising her head. His face cleared. "Then we'll go tomorrow." "Go where?" "To Paris; to be married." For a long time she made no answer; then she asked slowly, "Would they have us here if we were married?" "Have us here?" "I mean Lady Susan and the others." "Have us here? Of course they would." "Not if they knew at least, not unless they could pretend not to know." He made an impatient gesture. "We shouldn't come back here, of course; and other people needn't know no one need know." She sighed. "Then it's only another form of deception and a meaner one. Don't you see that?" "I see that we're not accountable to any Lady Susans on earth!" "Then why are you ashamed of what we are doing here?" "Because I'm sick of pretending that you're my wife when you're not when you won't be." She looked at him sadly. "If I were your wife you'd have to go on pretending. You'd have to pretend that I'd never been anything else. And our friends would have to pretend that they believed what you pretended." Gannett pulled off the sofa tassel and flung it away. "You're impossible," he groaned. "It's not I it's our being together that's impossible. I only want you to see that marriage won't help it." "What will help it then?" She raised her head. "My leaving you." "Your leaving me?" He sat motionless, staring at the tassel which lay at the other end of the room. At length some impulse of retaliation for the pain she was inflicting made him say deliberately: "And where would you go if you left me?" "Oh!" she cried. He was at her side in an instant. "Lydia Lydia you know I didn't mean it; I couldn't mean it! But you've driven me out of my senses; I don't know what I'm saying. Can't you get out of this labyrinth of self-torture? It's destroying us both." "That's why I must leave you." "How easily you say it!" He drew her hands down and made her face him. "You're very scrupulous about yourself and others. But have you thought of me? You have no right to leave me unless you've ceased to care " "It's because I care " "Then I have a right to be heard. If you love me you can't leave me." Her eyes defied him. "Why not?" He dropped her hands and rose from her side. "Can you?" he said sadly. The hour was late and the lamp flickered and sank. She stood up with a shiver and turned toward the door of her room. V A t daylight a sound in Lydia's room woke Ganett from a troubled sleep. He sat up and listened. She was moving about softly, as though fearful of disturbing him. He heard her push back one of the creaking shutters; then there was a moment's silence, which seemed to indicate that she was waiting to see if the noise had roused him. Presently she began to move again. She had spent a sleepless night, probably, and was dressing to go down to the garden for a breath of air. Gannett rose also; but some undefinable instinct made his movements as cautious as hers. He stole to his window and looked out through the slats of the shutter. It had rained in the night and the dawn was gray and lifeless. The cloudmuffled hills across the lake were reflected in its surface as in a tarnished mirror. In the garden, the birds were beginning to shake the drops from the motionless laurustinus boughs. An immense pity for Lydia filled Gannett's soul. Her seeming intellectual independence had blinded him for a time to the feminine cast of her mind. He had never thought of her as a woman who wept and clung: there was a lucidity in her intuitions that made them appear to be the result of reasoning. Now he saw the cruelty he had committed in detaching her from the normal conditions of life; he felt, too, the insight with which she had hit upon the real cause of their suffering. Their life was "impossible," as she had said and its worst penalty was that it had made any other life impossible for them. Even had his love lessened, he was bound to her now by a hundred ties of pity and self-reproach; and she, poor child, must turn back to him as Latude returned to his cell. A new sound startled him: it was the stealthy closing of Lydia's door. He crept to his own and heard her footsteps passing down the corridor. Then he went back to the window and looked out. A minute or two later he saw her go down the steps of the porch and enter the garden. From his post of observation her face was invisible, but something about her appearance struck him. She wore a long traveling cloak and under its folds he detected the outline of a bag or bundle. He drew a deep breath and stood watching her. She walked quickly down the laurustinus alley toward the gate; there she paused a moment, glancing about the little shady square. The stone benches under the trees were empty, and she seemed to gather resolution from the solitude about her, for she crossed the square to the steamboat landing, and he saw her pause before the ticket office at the head of the wharf. Now she was buying her ticket. Gannett turned his head a moment to look at the clock: the boat was due in five minutes. He had time to jump into his clothes and overtake her He made no attempt to move; an obscure reluctance restrained him. If any thought emerged from the tumult of his sensations, it was that he must let her go if she wished it. He had spoken last night of his rights: what were they? At the last issue, he and she were two separate beings, not made one by the miracle of common forbearances, duties, abnegations, but bound together in a noyade of passion that left them resisting yet clinging as they went down. After buying her ticket, Lydia had stood for a moment looking out across the lake; then he saw her seat herself on one of the benches near the landing. He and she, at that moment, were both listening for the same sound: the whistle of the boat as it rounded the nearest promontory. Gannett turned again to glance at the clock: the boat was due now. Where would she go? What would her life be when she had left him? She had no near relations and few friends. There was money enough . . . but she asked so much of life, in ways so complex and immaterial. He thought of her as walking barefooted through a stony waste. No one would understand her no one would pity her and he, who did both, was powerless to come to her aid. He saw that she had risen from the bench and walked toward the edge of the lake. She stood looking in the direction from which the steamboat was to come; then she turned to the ticket office, doubtless to ask the cause of the delay. After that she went back to the bench and sat down with bent head. What was she thinking of? The whistle sounded; she started up, and Gannett involuntarily made a movement toward the door. But he turned back and continued to watch her. She stood motionless, her eyes on the trail of smoke that preceded the appearance of the boat. Then the little craft rounded the point, a dead white object on the leaden water: a minute later it was puffing and backing at the wharf. The few passengers who were waiting two or three peasants and a snuffy priest were clustered near the ticket office. Lydia stood apart under the trees. The boat lay alongside now; the gangplank was run out and the peasants went on board with their baskets of vegetables, followed by the priest. Still Lydia did not move. A bell began to ring querulously; there was a shriek of steam, and someone must have called to her that she would be late, for she started forward, as though in answer to a summons. She moved waveringly, and at the edge of the wharf she paused. Gannett saw a sailor beckon to her; the bell rang again and she stepped upon the gangplank. Halfway down the short incline to the deck she stopped again; then she turned and ran back to the land. The gangplank was drawn in, the bell ceased to ring, and the boat backed out into the lake. Lydia, with slow steps, was walking toward the garden. As she approached the hotel she looked up furtively and Gannett drew back into the room. He sat down beside a table; a Bradshaw lay at his elbow, and mechanically, without knowing what he did, he began looking out the trains to Paris.
  Edith  Wharton   The  Other  Two   I   Waythorn,  on  the  drawing-­‐room  hearth,  waited  for  his  wife  to  come  down  to  dinner.                 It  was  their  first  night  under  his  own  roof,  and  he  was  surprised  at  his  thrill  of  boyish  agitation.  He  was   not  so  old,  to  be  sure  -­‐  his  glass  gave  him  little  more  than  the  five-­‐and-­‐thirty  years  to  which  his  wife   confessed  -­‐  but  he  had  fancied  himself  already  in  the  temperate  zone;  yet  here  he  was  listening  for  her   step  with  a  tender  sense  of  all  it  symbolized,  with  some  old  trail  of  verse  about  the  garlanded  nuptial   door-­‐posts  floating  through  his  enjoyment  of  the  pleasant  room  and  the  good  dinner  just  beyond  it.                 They  had  been  hastily  recalled  from  their  honeymoon  by  the  illness  of  Lily  Haskett,  the  child  of  Mrs.   Waythorn's  first  marriage.  The  little  girl,  at  Waythorn's  desire,  had  been  transferred  to  his  house  on  the   day  of  her  mother's  wedding,  and  the  doctor,  on  their  arrival,  broke  the  news  that  she  was  ill  with   typhoid,  but  declared  that  all  the  symptoms  were  favorable.  Lily  could  show  twelve  years  of  unblemished   health,  and  the  case  promised  to  be  a  light  one.  The  nurse  spoke  as  reassuringly,  and  after  a  moment  of   alarm  Mrs.  Waythorn  had  adjusted  herself  to  the  situation.  She  was  very  fond  of  Lily  -­‐  her  affection  for  the   child  had  perhaps  been  her  decisive  charm  in  Waythorn's  eyes  -­‐  but  she  had  the  perfectly  balanced   nerves  which  her  little  girl  had  inherited,  and  no  woman  ever  wasted  less  tissue  in  unproductive  worry.   Waythorn  was  therefore  quite  prepared  to  see  her  come  in  presently,  a  little  late  because  of  a  last  look  at   Lily,  but  as  serene  and  well-­‐appointed  as  if  her  good-­‐night  kiss  had  been  laid  on  the  brow  of  health.  Her   composure  was  restful  to  him;  it  acted  as  ballast  to  his  somewhat  unstable  sensibilities.  As  he  pictured   her  bending  over  the  child's  bed  he  thought  how  soothing  her  presence  must  be  in  illness:  her  very  step   would  prognosticate  recovery.                 His  own  life  had  been  a  gray  one,  from  temperament  rather  than  circumstance,  and  he  had  been  drawn  to   her  by  the  unperturbed  gayety  which  kept  her  fresh  and  elastic  at  an  age  when  most  women's  activities   are  growing  either  slack  or  febrile.  He  knew  what  was  said  about  her;  for,  popular  as  she  was,  there  had   always  been  a  faint  undercurrent  of  detraction.  When  she  had  appeared  in  New  York,  nine  or  ten  years   earlier,  as  the  pretty  Mrs.  Haskett  whom  Gus  Varick  had  unearthed  somewhere  -­‐  was  it  in  Pittsburgh  or   Utica?  -­‐  society,  while  promptly  accepting  her,  had  reserved  the  right  to  cast  a  doubt  on  its  own   discrimination.  Inquiry,  however,  established  her  undoubted  connection  with  a  socially  reigning  family,   and  explained  her  recent  divorce  as  the  natural  result  of  a  runaway  match  at  seventeen;  and  as  nothing   was  known  of  Mr.  Haskett  it  was  easy  to  believe  the  worst  of  him.                 Alice  Haskett's  remarriage  with  Gus  Varick  was  a  passport  to  the  set  whose  recognition  she  coveted,  and   for  a  few  years  the  Varicks  were  the  most  popular  couple  in  town.  Unfortunately  the  alliance  was  brief   and  stormy,  and  this  time  the  husband  had  his  champions.  Still,  even  Varick's  stanchest  supporters   admitted  that  he  was  not  meant  for  matrimony,  and  Mrs.  Varick's  grievances  were  of  a  nature  to  bear  the   inspection  of  the  New  York  courts.  A  New  York  divorce  is  in  itself  a  diploma  of  virtue,  and  in  the  semi-­‐   widowhood  of  this  second  separation  Mrs.  Varick  took  on  an  air  of  sanctity,  and  was  allowed  to  confide   her  wrongs  to  some  of  the  most  scrupulous  ears  in  town.  But  when  it  was  known  that  she  was  to  marry   Waythorn  there  was  a  momentary  reaction.  Her  best  friends  would  have  preferred  to  see  her  remain  in   the  role  of  the  injured  wife,  which  was  as  becoming  to  her  as  crape  to  a  rosy  complexion.  True,  a  decent   time  had  elapsed,  and  it  was  not  even  suggested  that  Waythorn  had  supplanted  his  predecessor.  Still,   people  shook  their  heads  over  him,  and  one  grudging  friend,  to  whom  he  affirmed  that  he  took  the  step   with  his  eyes  open,  replied  oracularly:  "Yes  -­‐  and  with  your  ears  shut."                 Waythorn  could  afford  to  smile  at  these  innuendoes.  In  the  Wall  Street  phrase,  he  had  "discounted"  them.   He  knew  that  society  has  not  yet  adapted  itself  to  the  consequences  of  divorce,  and  that  till  the  adaptation   takes  place  every  woman  who  uses  the  freedom  the  law  accords  her  must  be  her  own  social  justification.   Waythorn  had  an  amused  confidence  in  his  wife's  ability  to  justify  herself.  His  expectations  were  fulfilled,   and  before  the  wedding  took  place  Alice  Varick's  group  had  rallied  openly  to  her  support.  She  took  it  all   imperturbably:  she  had  a  way  of  surmounting  obstacles  without  seeming  to  be  aware  of  them,  and   Waythorn  looked  back  with  wonder  at  the  trivialities  over  which  he  had  worn  his  nerves  thin.  He  had  the   sense  of  having  found  refuge  in  a  richer,  warmer  nature  than  his  own,  and  his  satisfaction,  at  the  moment,   was  humorously  summed  up  in  the  thought  that  his  wife,  when  she  had  done  all  she  could  for  Lily,  would   not  be  ashamed  to  come  down  and  enjoy  a  good  dinner.                 The  anticipation  of  such  enjoyment  was  not,  however,  the  sentiment  expressed  by  Mrs.  Waythorn's   charming  face  when  she  presently  joined  him.  Though  she  had  put  on  her  most  engaging  teagown  she  had   neglected  to  assume  the  smile  that  went  with  it,  and  Waythorn  thought  he  had  never  seen  her  look  so   nearly  worried.                 "What  is  it?"  he  asked.  "Is  anything  wrong  with  Lily?"                 "No;  I've  just  been  in  and  she's  still  sleeping."  Mrs.  Waythorn  hesitated.  "But  something  tiresome  has   happened."                 He  had  taken  her  two  hands,  and  now  perceived  that  he  was  crushing  a  paper  between  them.                 "This  letter?"                 "Yes  -­‐  Mr.  Haskett  has  written  -­‐  I  mean  his  lawyer  has  written."                 Waythorn  felt  himself  flush  uncomfortably.  He  dropped  his  wife's  hands.                 "What  about?"                 "About  seeing  Lily.  You  know  the  courts  -­‐-­‐  "                 "Yes,  yes,"  he  interrupted  nervously.                 Nothing  was  known  about  Haskett  in  New  York.  He  was  vaguely  supposed  to  have  remained  in  the  outer   darkness  from  which  his  wife  had  been  rescued,  and  Waythorn  was  one  of  the  few  who  were  aware  that   he  had  given  up  his  business  in  Utica  and  followed  her  to  New  York  in  order  to  be  near  his  little  girl.  In   the  days  of  his  wooing,  Waythorn  had  often  met  Lily  on  the  doorstep,  rosy  and  smiling,  on  her  way  "to  see   papa."                 "I  am  so  sorry,"  Mrs.  Waythorn  murmured.                 He  roused  himself.  "What  does  he  want?"                 "He  wants  to  see  her.  You  know  she  goes  to  him  once  a  week."                 "Well  -­‐  he  doesn't  expect  her  to  go  to  him  now,  does  he?"                 "No  -­‐  he  has  heard  of  her  illness;  but  he  expects  to  come  here."                 "Here?"                 Mrs.  Waythorn  reddened  under  his  gaze.  They  looked  away  from  each  other.                 "I'm  afraid  he  has  the  right.  .  .  .  You'll  see.  .  .  ."  She  made  a  proffer  of  the  letter.                 Waythorn  moved  away  with  a  gesture  of  refusal.  He  stood  staring  about  the  softly  lighted  room,  which  a   moment  before  had  seemed  so  full  of  bridal  intimacy.                 "I'm  so  sorry,"  she  repeated.  "If  Lily  could  have  been  moved  -­‐-­‐  "                 "That's  out  of  the  question,"  he  returned  impatiently.                 "I  suppose  so."                 Her  lip  was  beginning  to  tremble,  and  he  felt  himself  a  brute.                 "He  must  come,  of  course,"  he  said.  "When  is  -­‐  his  day?"                 "I'm  afraid  -­‐  to-­‐morrow."                 "Very  well.  Send  a  note  in  the  morning."                 The  butler  entered  to  announce  dinner.                 Waythorn  turned  to  his  wife.  "Come  -­‐  you  must  be  tired.  It's  beastly,  but  try  to  forget  about  it,"  he  said,   drawing  her  hand  through  his  arm.                 "You're  so  good,  dear.  I'll  try,"  she  whispered  back.                 Her  face  cleared  at  once,  and  as  she  looked  at  him  across  the  flowers,  between  the  rosy  candle-­‐shades,  he   saw  her  lips  waver  back  into  a  smile.                 "How  pretty  everything  is!"  she  sighed  luxuriously.                 He  turned  to  the  butler.  "The  champagne  at  once,  please.  Mrs.  Waythorn  is  tired."                 In  a  moment  or  two  their  eyes  met  above  the  sparkling  glasses.  Her  own  were  quite  clear  and  untroubled:   he  saw  that  she  had  obeyed  his  injunction  and  forgotten.         II   Waythorn,  the  next  morning,  went  down  town  earlier  than  usual.  Haskett  was  not  likely  to  come  till  the   afternoon,  but  the  instinct  of  flight  drove  him  forth.  He  meant  to  stay  away  all  day  -­‐  he  had  thoughts  of   dining  at  his  club.  As  his  door  closed  behind  him  he  reflected  that  before  he  opened  it  again  it  would  have   admitted  another  man  who  had  as  much  right  to  enter  it  as  himself,  and  the  thought  filled  him  with  a   physical  repugnance.                 He  caught  the  "elevated"  at  the  employees'  hour,  and  found  himself  crushed  between  two  layers  of   pendulous  humanity.  At  Eighth  Street  the  man  facing  him  wriggled  out  and  another  took  his  place.   Waythorn  glanced  up  and  saw  that  it  was  Gus  Varick.  The  men  were  so  close  together  that  it  was   impossible  to  ignore  the  smile  of  recognition  on  Varick's  handsome  overblown  face.  And  after  all  -­‐  why   not?  They  had  always  been  on  good  terms,  and  Varick  had  been  divorced  before  Waythorn's  attentions  to   his  wife  began.  The  two  exchanged  a  word  on  the  perennial  grievance  of  the  congested  trains,  and  when  a   seat  at  their  side  was  miraculously  left  empty  the  instinct  of  self-­‐preservation  made  Waythorn  slip  into  it   after  Varick.                 The  latter  drew  the  stout  man's  breath  of  relief.                 "Lord  -­‐  I  was  beginning  to  feel  like  a  pressed  flower."  He  leaned  back,  looking  unconcernedly  at   Waythorn.  "Sorry  to  hear  that  Sellers  is  knocked  out  again."                 "Sellers?"  echoed  Waythorn,  starting  at  his  partner's  name.                 Varick  looked  surprised.  "You  didn't  know  he  was  laid  up  with  the  gout?"                 "No.  I've  been  away  -­‐  I  only  got  back  last  night."  Waythorn  felt  himself  reddening  in  anticipation  of  the   other's  smile.                 "Ah  -­‐  yes;  to  be  sure.  And  Sellers's  attack  came  on  two  days  ago.  I'm  afraid  he's  pretty  bad.  Very  awkward   for  me,  as  it  happens,  because  he  was  just  putting  through  a  rather  important  thing  for  me."                 "Ah?"  Waythorn  wondered  vaguely  since  when  Varick  had  been  dealing  in  "important  things."  Hitherto   he  had  dabbled  only  in  the  shallow  pools  of  speculation,  with  which  Waythorn's  office  did  not  usually   concern  itself.                 It  occurred  to  him  that  Varick  might  be  talking  at  random,  to  relieve  the  strain  of  their  propinquity.  That   strain  was  becoming  momentarily  more  apparent  to  Waythorn,  and  when,  at  Cortlandt  Street,  he  caught   sight  of  an  acquaintance,  and  had  a  sudden  vision  of  the  picture  he  and  Varick  must  present  to  an   initiated  eye,  he  jumped  up  with  a  muttered  excuse.                 "I  hope  you'll  find  Sellers  better,"  said  Varick  civilly,  and  he  stammered  back:  "If  I  can  be  of  any  use  to  you   -­‐-­‐  "  and  let  the  departing  crowd  sweep  him  to  the  platform.                 At  his  office  he  heard  that  Sellers  was  in  fact  ill  with  the  gout,  and  would  probably  not  be  able  to  leave  the   house  for  some  weeks.                 "I'm  sorry  it  should  have  happened  so,  Mr.  Waythorn,"  the  senior  clerk  said  with  affable  significance.  "Mr.   Sellers  was  very  much  upset  at  the  idea  of  giving  you  such  a  lot  of  extra  work  just  now."                 "Oh,  that's  no  matter,"  said  Waythorn  hastily.  He  secretly  welcomed  the  pressure  of  additional  business,   and  was  glad  to  think  that,  when  the  day's  work  was  over,  he  would  have  to  call  at  his  partner's  on  the   way  home.                 He  was  late  for  luncheon,  and  turned  in  at  the  nearest  restaurant  instead  of  going  to  his  club.  The  place   was  full,  and  the  waiter  hurried  him  to  the  back  of  the  room  to  capture  the  only  vacant  table.  In  the  cloud   of  cigar-­‐smoke  Waythorn  did  not  at  once  distinguish  his  neighbors;  but  presently,  looking  about  him,  he   saw  Varick  seated  a  few  feet  off.  This  time,  luckily,  they  were  too  far  apart  for  conversation,  and  Varick,   who  faced  another  way,  had  probably  not  even  seen  him;  but  there  was  an  irony  in  their  renewed   nearness.                 Varick  was  said  to  be  fond  of  good  living,  and  as  Waythorn  sat  despatching  his  hurried  luncheon  he   looked  across  half  enviously  at  the  other's  leisurely  degustation  of  his  meal.  When  Waythorn  first  saw   him  he  had  been  helping  himself  with  critical  deliberation  to  a  bit  of  Camembert  at  the  ideal  point  of   liquefaction,  and  now,  the  cheese  removed,  he  was  just  pouring  his  cafe  double  from  its  little  two-­‐storied   earthen  pot.  He  poured  slowly,  his  ruddy  profile  bent  above  the  task,  and  one  beringed  white  hand   steadying  the  lid  of  the  coffee-­‐pot;  then  he  stretched  his  other  hand  to  the  decanter  of  cognac  at  his   elbow,  filled  a  liqueur-­‐glass,  took  a  tentative  sip,  and  poured  the  brandy  into  his  coffee-­‐cup.                 Waythorn  watched  him  in  a  kind  of  fascination.  What  was  he  thinking  of  -­‐  only  of  the  flavor  of  the  coffee   and  the  liqueur?  Had  the  morning's  meeting  left  no  more  trace  in  his  thoughts  than  on  his  face?  Had  his   wife  so  completely  passed  out  of  his  life  that  even  this  odd  encounter  with  her  present  husband,  within  a   week  after  her  remarriage,  was  no  more  than  an  incident  in  his  day?  And  as  Waythorn  mused,  another   idea  struck  him:  had  Haskett  ever  met  Varick  as  Varick  and  he  had  just  met?  The  recollection  of  Haskett   perturbed  him,  and  he  rose  and  left  the  restaurant,  taking  a  circuitous  way  out  to  escape  the  placid  irony   of  Varick's  nod.                 It  was  after  seven  when  Waythorn  reached  home.  He  thought  the  footman  who  opened  the  door  looked  at   him  oddly.                 "How  is  Miss  Lily?"  he  asked  in  haste.                 "Doing  very  well,  sir.  A  gentleman  -­‐-­‐  "                 "Tell  Barlow  to  put  off  dinner  for  half  an  hour,"  Waythorn  cut  him  off,  hurrying  upstairs.                 He  went  straight  to  his  room  and  dressed  without  seeing  his  wife.  When  he  reached  the  drawing-­‐room   she  was  there,  fresh  and  radiant.  Lily's  day  had  been  good;  the  doctor  was  not  coming  back  that  evening.                 At  dinner  Waythorn  told  her  of  Sellers's  illness  and  of  the  resulting  complications.  She  listened   sympathetically,  adjuring  him  not  to  let  himself  be  overworked,  and  asking  vague  feminine  questions   about  the  routine  of  the  office.  Then  she  gave  him  the  chronicle  of  Lily's  day;  quoted  the  nurse  and  doctor,   and  told  him  who  had  called  to  inquire.  He  had  never  seen  her  more  serene  and  unruffled.  It  struck  him,   with  a  curious  pang,  that  she  was  very  happy  in  being  with  him,  so  happy  that  she  found  a  childish   pleasure  in  rehearsing  the  trivial  incidents  of  her  day.                 After  dinner  they  went  to  the  library,  and  the  servant  put  the  coffee  and  liqueurs  on  a  low  table  before   her  and  left  the  room.  She  looked  singularly  soft  and  girlish  in  her  rosy  pale  dress,  against  the  dark   leather  of  one  of  his  bachelor  armchairs.  A  day  earlier  the  contrast  would  have  charmed  him.                 He  turned  away  now,  choosing  a  cigar  with  affected  deliberation.                 "Did  Haskett  come?"  he  asked,  with  his  back  to  her.                 "Oh,  yes  -­‐  he  came."                 "You  didn't  see  him,  of  course?"                 She  hesitated  a  moment.  "I  let  the  nurse  see  him."                 That  was  all.  There  was  nothing  more  to  ask.  He  swung  round  toward  her,  applying  a  match  to  his  cigar.   Well,  the  thing  was  over  for  a  week,  at  any  rate.  He  would  try  not  to  think  of  it.  She  looked  up  at  him,  a   trifle  rosier  than  usual,  with  a  smile  in  her  eyes.                 "Ready  for  your  coffee,  dear?"                 He  leaned  against  the  mantelpiece,  watching  her  as  she  lifted  the  coffee-­‐pot.  The  lamplight  struck  a  gleam   from  her  bracelets  and  tipped  her  soft  hair  with  brightness.  How  light  and  slender  she  was,  and  how  each   gesture  flowed  into  the  next!  She  seemed  a  creature  all  compact  of  harmonies.  As  the  thought  of  Haskett   receded,  Waythorn  felt  himself  yielding  again  to  the  joy  of  possessorship.  They  were  his,  those  white   hands  with  their  flitting  motions,  his  the  light  haze  of  hair,  the  lips  and  eyes.  .  .  .                 She  set  down  the  coffee-­‐pot,  and  reaching  for  the  decanter  of  cognac,  measured  off  a  liqueur-­‐glass  and   poured  it  into  his  cup.                 Waythorn  uttered  a  sudden  exclamation.                 "What  is  the  matter?"  she  said,  startled.                 "Nothing;  only  -­‐  I  don't  take  cognac  in  my  coffee."                 "Oh,  how  stupid  of  me,"  she  cried.                 Their  eyes  met,  and  she  blushed  a  sudden  agonized  red.         III   Ten  days  later,  Mr.  Sellers,  still  house-­‐bound,  asked  Waythorn  to  call  on  his  way  downtown.                 The  senior  partner,  with  his  swaddled  foot  propped  up  by  the  fire,  greeted  his  associate  with  an  air  of   embarrassment.                 "I'm  sorry,  my  dear  fellow;  I've  got  to  ask  you  to  do  an  awkward  thing  for  me."                 Waythorn  waited,  and  the  other  went  on,  after  a  pause  apparently  given  to  the  arrangement  of  his   phrases:  "The  fact  is,  when  I  was  knocked  out  I  had  just  gone  into  a  rather  complicated  piece  of  business   for  -­‐  Gus  Varick."                 "Well?"  said  Waythorn,  with  an  attempt  to  put  him  at  his  ease.                 "Well  -­‐  it's  this  way:  Varick  came  to  me  the  day  before  my  attack.  He  had  evidently  had  an  inside  tip  from   somebody,  and  had  made  about  a  hundred  thousand.  He  came  to  me  for  advice,  and  I  suggested  his  going   in  with  Vanderlyn."                 "Oh,  the  deuce!"  Waythorn  exclaimed.  He  saw  in  a  flash  what  had  happened.  The  investment  was  an   alluring  one,  but  required  negotiation.  He  listened  intently  while  Sellers  put  the  case  before  him,  and,  the   statement  ended,  he  said:  "You  think  I  ought  to  see  Varick?"                 "I'm  afraid  I  can't  as  yet.  The  doctor  is  obdurate.  And  this  thing  can't  wait.  I  hate  to  ask  you,  but  no  one   else  in  the  office  knows  the  ins  and  outs  of  it."                 Waythorn  stood  silent.  He  did  not  care  a  farthing  for  the  success  of  Varick's  venture,  but  the  honor  of  the   office  was  to  be  considered,  and  he  could  hardly  refuse  to  oblige  his  partner.                 "Very  well,"  he  said,  "I'll  do  it."                 That  afternoon,  apprised  by  telephone,  Varick  called  at  the  office.  Waythorn,  waiting  in  his  private  room,   wondered  what  the  others  thought  of  it.  The  newspapers,  at  the  time  of  Mrs.  Waythorn's  marriage,  had   acquainted  their  readers  with  every  detail  of  her  previous  matrimonial  ventures,  and  Waythorn  could   fancy  the  clerks  smiling  behind  Varick's  back  as  he  was  ushered  in.                 Varick  bore  himself  admirably.  He  was  easy  without  being  undignified,  and  Waythorn  was  conscious  of   cutting  a  much  less  impressive  figure.  Varick  had  no  head  for  business,  and  the  talk  prolonged  itself  for   nearly  an  hour  while  Waythorn  set  forth  with  scrupulous  precision  the  details  of  the  proposed   transaction.                 "I'm  awfully  obliged  to  you,"  Varick  said  as  he  rose.  "The  fact  is  I'm  not  used  to  having  much  money  to   look  after,  and  I  don't  want  to  make  an  ass  of  myself  -­‐-­‐  "  He  smiled,  and  Waythorn  could  not  help  noticing   that  there  was  something  pleasant  about  his  smile.  "It  feels  uncommonly  queer  to  have  enough  cash  to   pay  one's  bills.  I'd  have  sold  my  soul  for  it  a  few  years  ago!"                 Waythorn  winced  at  the  allusion.  He  had  heard  it  rumored  that  a  lack  of  funds  had  been  one  of  the   determining  causes  of  the  Varick  separation,  but  it  did  not  occur  to  him  that  Varick's  words  were   intentional.  It  seemed  more  likely  that  the  desire  to  keep  clear  of  embarrassing  topics  had  fatally  drawn   him  into  one.  Waythorn  did  not  wish  to  be  outdone  in  civility.                 "We'll  do  the  best  we  can  for  you,"  he  said.  "I  think  this  is  a  good  thing  you're  in."                 "Oh,  I'm  sure  it's  immense.  It's  awfully  good  of  you  -­‐-­‐  "  Varick  broke  off,  embarrassed.  "I  suppose  the   thing's  settled  now  -­‐  but  if  -­‐-­‐  "                 "If  anything  happens  before  Sellers  is  about,  I'll  see  you  again,"  said  Waythorn  quietly.  He  was  glad,  in  the   end,  to  appear  the  more  self-­‐possessed  of  the  two.                 The  course  of  Lily's  illness  ran  smooth,  and  as  the  days  passed  Waythorn  grew  used  to  the  idea  of   Haskett's  weekly  visit.  The  first  time  the  day  came  round,  he  stayed  out  late,  and  questioned  his  wife  as  to   the  visit  on  his  return.  She  replied  at  once  that  Haskett  had  merely  seen  the  nurse  downstairs,  as  the   doctor  did  not  wish  any  one  in  the  child's  sick-­‐room  till  after  the  crisis.                 The  following  week  Waythorn  was  again  conscious  of  the  recurrence  of  the  day,  but  had  forgotten  it  by   the  time  he  came  home  to  dinner.  The  crisis  of  the  disease  came  a  few  days  later,  with  a  rapid  decline  of   fever,  and  the  little  girl  was  pronounced  out  of  danger.  In  the  rejoicing  which  ensued  the  thought  of   Haskett  passed  out  of  Waythorn's  mind  and  one  afternoon,  letting  himself  into  the  house  with  a  latchkey,   he  went  straight  to  his  library  without  noticing  a  shabby  hat  and  umbrella  in  the  hall.                 In  the  library  he  found  a  small  effaced-­‐looking  man  with  a  thinnish  gray  beard  sitting  on  the  edge  of  a   chair.  The  stranger  might  have  been  a  piano-­‐tuner,  or  one  of  those  mysteriously  efficient  persons  who  are   summoned  in  emergencies  to  adjust  some  detail  of  the  domestic  machinery.  He  blinked  at  Waythorn   through  a  pair  of  gold-­‐rimmed  spectacles  and  said  mildly:  "Mr.  Waythorn,  I  presume?  I  am  Lily's  father."                 Waythorn  flushed.  "Oh  -­‐-­‐  "  he  stammered  uncomfortably.  He  broke  off,  disliking  to  appear  rude.  Inwardly   he  was  trying  to  adjust  the  actual  Haskett  to  the  image  of  him  projected  by  his  wife's  reminiscences.   Waythorn  had  been  allowed  to  infer  that  Alice's  first  husband  was  a  brute.                 "I  am  sorry  to  intrude,"  said  Haskett,  with  his  over-­‐the-­‐  counter  politeness.                 "Don't  mention  it,"  returned  Waythorn,  collecting  himself.  "I  suppose  the  nurse  has  been  told?"                 "I  presume  so.  I  can  wait,"  said  Haskett.  He  had  a  resigned  way  of  speaking,  as  though  life  had  worn  down   his  natural  powers  of  resistance.                 Waythorn  stood  on  the  threshold,  nervously  pulling  off  his  gloves.                 "I'm  sorry  you've  been  detained.  I  will  send  for  the  nurse,"  he  said;  and  as  he  opened  the  door  he  added   with  an  effort:  "I'm  glad  we  can  give  you  a  good  report  of  Lily."  He  winced  as  the  we  slipped  out,  but   Haskett  seemed  not  to  notice  it.                 "Thank  you,  Mr.  Waythorn.  It's  been  an  anxious  time  for  me."                 "Ah,  well,  that's  past.  Soon  she'll  be  able  to  go  to  you."  Waythorn  nodded  and  passed  out.                 In  his  own  room,  he  flung  himself  down  with  a  groan.  He  hated  the  womanish  sensibility  which  made  him   suffer  so  acutely  from  the  grotesque  chances  of  life.  He  had  known  when  he  married  that  his  wife's   former  husbands  were  both  living,  and  that  amid  the  multiplied  contacts  of  modern  existence  there  were   a  thousand  chances  to  one  that  he  would  run  against  one  or  the  other,  yet  he  found  himself  as  much   disturbed  by  his  brief  encounter  with  Haskett  as  though  the  law  had  not  obligingly  removed  all   difficulties  in  the  way  of  their  meeting.                 Waythorn  sprang  up  and  began  to  pace  the  room  nervously.  He  had  not  suffered  half  so  much  from  his   two  meetings  with  Varick.  It  was  Haskett's  presence  in  his  own  house  that  made  the  situation  so   intolerable.  He  stood  still,  hearing  steps  in  the  passage.                 "This  way,  please,"  he  heard  the  nurse  say.  Haskett  was  being  taken  upstairs,  then:  not  a  corner  of  the   house  but  was  open  to  him.  Waythorn  dropped  into  another  chair,  staring  vaguely  ahead  of  him.  On  his   dressing-­‐table  stood  a  photograph  of  Alice,  taken  when  he  had  first  known  her.  She  was  Alice  Varick  then   -­‐  how  fine  and  exquisite  he  had  thought  her!  Those  were  Varick's  pearls  about  her  neck.  At  Waythorn's   instance  they  had  been  returned  before  her  marriage.  Had  Haskett  ever  given  her  any  trinkets  -­‐  and  what   had  become  of  them,  Waythorn  wondered?  He  realized  suddenly  that  he  knew  very  little  of  Haskett's  past   or  present  situation;  but  from  the  man's  appearance  and  manner  of  speech  he  could  reconstruct  with   curious  precision  the  surroundings  of  Alice's  first  marriage.  And  it  startled  him  to  think  that  she  had,  in   the  background  of  her  life,  a  phase  of  existence  so  different  from  anything  with  which  he  had  connected   her.  Varick,  whatever  his  faults,  was  a  gentleman,  in  the  conventional,  traditional  sense  of  the  term:  the   sense  which  at  that  moment  seemed,  oddly  enough,  to  have  most  meaning  to  Waythorn.  He  and  Varick   had  the  same  social  habits,  spoke  the  same  language,  understood  the  same  allusions.  But  this  other  man  .  .   .  it  was  grotesquely  uppermost  in  Waythorn's  mind  that  Haskett  had  worn  a  made-­‐up  tie  attached  with  an   elastic.  Why  should  that  ridiculous  detail  symbolize  the  whole  man?  Waythorn  was  exasperated  by  his   own  paltriness,  but  the  fact  of  the  tie  expanded,  forced  itself  on  him,  became  as  it  were  the  key  to  Alice's   past.  He  could  see  her,  as  Mrs.  Haskett,  sitting  in  a  "front  parlor"  furnished  in  plush,  with  a  pianola,  and  a   copy  of  "Ben  Hur"  on  the  centre-­‐table.  He  could  see  her  going  to  the  theatre  with  Haskett  -­‐  or  perhaps   even  to  a  "Church  Sociable"  -­‐  she  in  a  "picture  hat"  and  Haskett  in  a  black  frock-­‐coat,  a  little  creased,  with   the  made-­‐up  tie  on  an  elastic.  On  the  way  home  they  would  stop  and  look  at  the  illuminated  shop-­‐ windows,  lingering  over  the  photographs  of  New  York  actresses.  On  Sunday  afternoons  Haskett  would   take  her  for  a  walk,  pushing  Lily  ahead  of  them  in  a  white  enameled  perambulator,  and  Waythorn  had  a   vision  of  the  people  they  would  stop  and  talk  to.  He  could  fancy  how  pretty  Alice  must  have  looked,  in  a   dress  adroitly  constructed  from  the  hints  of  a  New  York  fashion-­‐paper;  how  she  must  have  looked  down   on  the  other  women,  chafing  at  her  life,  and  secretly  feeling  that  she  belonged  in  a  bigger  place.                 For  the  moment  his  foremost  thought  was  one  of  wonder  at  the  way  in  which  she  had  shed  the  phase  of   existence  which  her  marriage  with  Haskett  implied.  It  was  as  if  her  whole  aspect,  every  gesture,  every   inflection,  every  allusion,  were  a  studied  negation  of  that  period  of  her  life.  If  she  had  denied  being   married  to  Haskett  she  could  hardly  have  stood  more  convicted  of  duplicity  than  in  this  obliteration  of   the  self  which  had  been  his  wife.                 Waythorn  started  up,  checking  himself  in  the  analysis  of  her  motives.  What  right  had  he  to  create  a   fantastic  effigy  of  her  and  then  pass  judgment  on  it?  She  had  spoken  vaguely  of  her  first  marriage  as   unhappy,  had  hinted,  with  becoming  reticence,  that  Haskett  had  wrought  havoc  among  her  young   illusions.  .  .  .  It  was  a  pity  for  Waythorn's  peace  of  mind  that  Haskett's  very  inoffensiveness  shed  a  new   light  on  the  nature  of  those  illusions.  A  man  would  rather  think  that  his  wife  has  been  brutalized  by  her   first  husband  than  that  the  process  has  been  reversed.         IV   "Mr  Waythorn,  I  don't  like  that  French  governess  of  Lily's."                 Haskett,  subdued  and  apologetic,  stood  before  Waythorn  in  the  library,  revolving  his  shabby  hat  in  his   hand.                 Waythorn,  surprised  in  his  armchair  over  the  evening  paper,  stared  back  perplexedly  at  his  visitor.                 "You'll  excuse  my  asking  to  see  you,"  Haskett  continued.  "But  this  is  my  last  visit,  and  I  thought  if  I  could   have  a  word  with  you  it  would  be  a  better  way  than  writing  to  Mrs.  Waythorn's  lawyer."                 Waythorn  rose  uneasily.  He  did  not  like  the  French  governess  either;  but  that  was  irrelevant.                 "I  am  not  so  sure  of  that,"  he  returned  stiffly;  "but  since  you  wish  it  I  will  give  your  message  to  -­‐  my  wife."   He  always  hesitated  over  the  possessive  pronoun  in  addressing  Haskett.                 The  latter  sighed.  "I  don't  know  as  that  will  help  much.  She  didn't  like  it  when  I  spoke  to  her."                 Waythorn  turned  red.  "When  did  you  see  her?"  he  asked.                 "Not  since  the  first  day  I  came  to  see  Lily  -­‐  right  after  she  was  taken  sick.  I  remarked  to  her  then  that  I   didn't  like  the  governess."                 Waythorn  made  no  answer.  He  remembered  distinctly  that,  after  that  first  visit,  he  had  asked  his  wife  if   she  had  seen  Haskett.  She  had  lied  to  him  then,  but  she  had  respected  his  wishes  since;  and  the  incident   cast  a  curious  light  on  her  character.  He  was  sure  she  would  not  have  seen  Haskett  that  first  day  if  she   had  divined  that  Waythorn  would  object,  and  the  fact  that  she  did  not  divine  it  was  almost  as   disagreeable  to  the  latter  as  the  discovery  that  she  had  lied  to  him.                 "I  don't  like  the  woman,"  Haskett  was  repeating  with  mild  persistency.  "She  ain't  straight,  Mr.  Waythorn  -­‐   she'll  teach  the  child  to  be  underhand.  I've  noticed  a  change  in  Lily  -­‐  she's  too  anxious  to  please  -­‐  and  she   don't  always  tell  the  truth.  She  used  to  be  the  straightest  child,  Mr.  Waythorn  -­‐-­‐  "  He  broke  off,  his  voice  a   little  thick.  "Not  but  what  I  want  her  to  have  a  stylish  education,"  he  ended.                 Waythorn  was  touched.  "I'm  sorry,  Mr.  Haskett;  but  frankly,  I  don't  quite  see  what  I  can  do."                 Haskett  hesitated.  Then  he  laid  his  hat  on  the  table,  and  advanced  to  the  hearth-­‐rug,  on  which  Waythorn   was  standing.  There  was  nothing  aggressive  in  his  manner;  but  he  had  the  solemnity  of  a  timid  man   resolved  on  a  decisive  measure.                 "There's  just  one  thing  you  can  do,  Mr.  Waythorn,"  he  said.  "You  can  remind  Mrs.  Waythorn  that,  by  the   decree  of  the  courts,  I  am  entitled  to  have  a  voice  in  Lily's  bringing  up."  He  paused,  and  went  on  more   deprecatingly:  "I'm  not  the  kind  to  talk  about  enforcing  my  rights,  Mr.  Waythorn.  I  don't  know  as  I  think  a   man  is  entitled  to  rights  he  hasn't  known  how  to  hold  on  to;  but  this  business  of  the  child  is  different.  I've   never  let  go  there  -­‐  and  I  never  mean  to."                 The  scene  left  Waythorn  deeply  shaken.  Shamefacedly,  in  indirect  ways,  he  had  been  finding  out  about   Haskett;  and  all  that  he  had  learned  was  favorable.  The  little  man,  in  order  to  be  near  his  daughter,  had   sold  out  his  share  in  a  profitable  business  in  Utica,  and  accepted  a  modest  clerkship  in  a  New  York   manufacturing  house.  He  boarded  in  a  shabby  street  and  had  few  acquaintances.  His  passion  for  Lily  filled   his  life.  Waythorn  felt  that  this  exploration  of  Haskett  was  like  groping  about  with  a  dark-­‐lantern  in  his   wife's  past;  but  he  saw  now  that  there  were  recesses  his  lantern  had  not  explored.  He  had  never  inquired   into  the  exact  circumstances  of  his  wife's  first  matrimonial  rupture.  On  the  surface  all  had  been  fair.  It   was  she  who  had  obtained  the  divorce,  and  the  court  had  given  her  the  child.  But  Waythorn  knew  how   many  ambiguities  such  a  verdict  might  cover.  The  mere  fact  that  Haskett  retained  a  right  over  his   daughter  implied  an  unsuspected  compromise.  Waythorn  was  an  idealist.  He  always  refused  to  recognize   unpleasant  contingencies  till  he  found  himself  confronted  with  them,  and  then  he  saw  them  followed  by  a   special  train  of  consequences.  His  next  days  were  thus  haunted,  and  he  determined  to  try  to  lay  the   ghosts  by  conjuring  them  up  in  his  wife's  presence.                 When  he  repeated  Haskett's  request  a  flame  of  anger  passed  over  her  face;  but  she  subdued  it  instantly   and  spoke  with  a  slight  quiver  of  outraged  motherhood.                 "It  is  very  ungentlemanly  of  him,"  she  said.                 The  word  grated  on  Waythorn.  "That  is  neither  here  nor  there.  It's  a  bare  question  of  rights."                 She  murmured:  "It's  not  as  if  he  could  ever  be  a  help  to  Lily  -­‐-­‐  "                 Waythorn  flushed.  This  was  even  less  to  his  taste.  "The  question  is,"  he  repeated,  "what  authority  has  he   over  her?"                 She  looked  downward,  twisting  herself  a  little  in  her  seat.  "I  am  willing  to  see  him  -­‐  I  thought  you   objected,"  she  faltered.                 In  a  flash  he  understood  that  she  knew  the  extent  of  Haskett's  claims.  Perhaps  it  was  not  the  first  time  she   had  resisted  them.                 "My  objecting  has  nothing  to  do  with  it,"  he  said  coldly;  "if  Haskett  has  a  right  to  be  consulted  you  must   consult  him."                 She  burst  into  tears,  and  he  saw  that  she  expected  him  to  regard  her  as  a  victim.                 Haskett  did  not  abuse  his  rights.  Waythorn  had  felt  miserably  sure  that  he  would  not.  But  the  governess   was  dismissed,  and  from  time  to  time  the  little  man  demanded  an  interview  with  Alice.  After  the  first   outburst  she  accepted  the  situation  with  her  usual  adaptability.  Haskett  had  once  reminded  Waythorn  of   the  piano-­‐tuner,  and  Mrs.  Waythorn,  after  a  month  or  two,  appeared  to  class  him  with  that  domestic   familiar.  Waythorn  could  not  but  respect  the  father's  tenacity.  At  first  he  had  tried  to  cultivate  the   suspicion  that  Haskett  might  be  "up  to"  something,  that  he  had  an  object  in  securing  a  foothold  in  the   house.  But  in  his  heart  Waythorn  was  sure  of  Haskett's  single-­‐mindedness;  he  even  guessed  in  the  latter  a   mild  contempt  for  such  advantages  as  his  relation  with  the  Waythorns  might  offer.  Haskett's  sincerity  of   purpose  made  him  invulnerable,  and  his  successor  had  to  accept  him  as  a  lien  on  the  property.                 Mr.  Sellers  was  sent  to  Europe  to  recover  from  his  gout,  and  Varick's  affairs  hung  on  Waythorn's  hands.   The  negotiations  were  prolonged  and  complicated;  they  necessitated  frequent  conferences  between  the   two  men,  and  the  interests  of  the  firm  forbade  Waythorn's  suggesting  that  his  client  should  transfer  his   business  to  another  office.                 Varick  appeared  well  in  the  transaction.  In  moments  of  relaxation  his  coarse  streak  appeared,  and   Waythorn  dreaded  his  geniality;  but  in  the  office  he  was  concise  and  clear-­‐headed,  with  a  flattering   deference  to  Waythorn's  judgment.  Their  business  relations  being  so  affably  established,  it  would  have   been  absurd  for  the  two  men  to  ignore  each  other  in  society.  The  first  time  they  met  in  a  drawing-­‐room,   Varick  took  up  their  intercourse  in  the  same  easy  key,  and  his  hostess's  grateful  glance  obliged  Waythorn   to  respond  to  it.  After  that  they  ran  across  each  other  frequently,  and  one  evening  at  a  ball  Waythorn,   wandering  through  the  remoter  rooms,  came  upon  Varick  seated  beside  his  wife.  She  colored  a  little,  and   faltered  in  what  she  was  saying;  but  Varick  nodded  to  Waythorn  without  rising,  and  the  latter  strolled  on.                 In  the  carriage,  on  the  way  home,  he  broke  out  nervously:  "I  didn't  know  you  spoke  to  Varick."                 Her  voice  trembled  a  little.  "It's  the  first  time  -­‐  he  happened  to  be  standing  near  me;  I  didn't  know  what  to   do.  It's  so  awkward,  meeting  everywhere  -­‐  and  he  said  you  had  been  very  kind  about  some  business."                 "That's  different,"  said  Waythorn.                 She  paused  a  moment.  "I'll  do  just  as  you  wish,"  she  returned  pliantly.  "I  thought  it  would  be  less   awkward  to  speak  to  him  when  we  meet."                 Her  pliancy  was  beginning  to  sicken  him.  Had  she  really  no  will  of  her  own  -­‐  no  theory  about  her  relation   to  these  men?  She  had  accepted  Haskett  -­‐  did  she  mean  to  accept  Varick?  It  was  "less  awkward,"  as  she   had  said,  and  her  instinct  was  to  evade  difficulties  or  to  circumvent  them.  With  sudden  vividness   Waythorn  saw  how  the  instinct  had  developed.  She  was  "as  easy  as  an  old  shoe"  -­‐  a  shoe  that  too  many   feet  had  worn.  Her  elasticity  was  the  result  of  tension  in  too  many  different  directions.  Alice  Haskett  -­‐   Alice  Varick  -­‐  Alice  Waythorn  -­‐  she  had  been  each  in  turn,  and  had  left  hanging  to  each  name  a  little  of  her   privacy,  a  little  of  her  personality,  a  little  of  the  inmost  self  where  the  unknown  god  abides.                 "Yes  -­‐  it's  better  to  speak  to  Varick,"  said  Waythorn  wearily.       V   The  winter  wore  on,  and  society  took  advantage  of  the  Waythorns'  acceptance  of  Varick.  Harassed   hostesses  were  grateful  to  them  for  bridging  over  a  social  difficulty,  and  Mrs.  Waythorn  was  held  up  as  a   miracle  of  good  taste.  Some  experimental  spirits  could  not  resist  the  diversion  of  throwing  Varick  and  his   former  wife  together,  and  there  were  those  who  thought  he  found  a  zest  in  the  propinquity.  But  Mrs.   Waythorn's  conduct  remained  irreproachable.  She  neither  avoided  Varick  nor  sought  him  out.  Even   Waythorn  could  not  but  admit  that  she  had  discovered  the  solution  of  the  newest  social  problem.                 He  had  married  her  without  giving  much  thought  to  that  problem.  He  had  fancied  that  a  woman  can  shed   her  past  like  a  man.  But  now  he  saw  that  Alice  was  bound  to  hers  both  by  the  circumstances  which  forced   her  into  continued  relation  with  it,  and  by  the  traces  it  had  left  on  her  nature.  With  grim  irony  Waythorn   compared  himself  to  a  member  of  a  syndicate.  He  held  so  many  shares  in  his  wife's  personality  and  his   predecessors  were  his  partners  in  the  business.  If  there  had  been  any  element  of  passion  in  the   transaction  he  would  have  felt  less  deteriorated  by  it.  The  fact  that  Alice  took  her  change  of  husbands  like   a  change  of  weather  reduced  the  situation  to  mediocrity.  He  could  have  forgiven  her  for  blunders,  for   excesses;  for  resisting  Hackett,  for  yielding  to  Varick;  for  anything  but  her  acquiescence  and  her  tact.  She   reminded  him  of  a  juggler  tossing  knives;  but  the  knives  were  blunt  and  she  knew  they  would  never  cut   her.                 And  then,  gradually,  habit  formed  a  protecting  surface  for  his  sensibilities.  If  he  paid  for  each  day's   comfort  with  the  small  change  of  his  illusions,  he  grew  daily  to  value  the  comfort  more  and  set  less  store   upon  the  coin.  He  had  drifted  into  a  dulling  propinquity  with  Haskett  and  Varick  and  he  took  refuge  in  the   cheap  revenge  of  satirizing  the  situation.  He  even  began  to  reckon  up  the  advantages  which  accrued  from   it,  to  ask  himself  if  it  were  not  better  to  own  a  third  of  a  wife  who  knew  how  to  make  a  man  happy  than  a   whole  one  who  had  lacked  opportunity  to  acquire  the  art.  For  it  was  an  art,  and  made  up,  like  all  others,   of  concessions,  eliminations  and  embellishments;  of  lights  judiciously  thrown  and  shadows  skillfully   softened.  His  wife  knew  exactly  how  to  manage  the  lights,  and  he  knew  exactly  to  what  training  she  owed   her  skill.  He  even  tried  to  trace  the  source  of  his  obligations,  to  discriminate  between  the  influences   which  had  combined  to  produce  his  domestic  happiness:  he  perceived  that  Haskett's  commonness  had   made  Alice  worship  good  breeding,  while  Varick's  liberal  construction  of  the  marriage  bond  had  taught   her  to  value  the  conjugal  virtues;  so  that  he  was  directly  indebted  to  his  predecessors  for  the  devotion   which  made  his  life  easy  if  not  inspiring.                 From  this  phase  he  passed  into  that  of  complete  acceptance.  He  ceased  to  satirize  himself  because  time   dulled  the  irony  of  the  situation  and  the  joke  lost  its  humor  with  its  sting.  Even  the  sight  of  Haskett's  hat   on  the  hall  table  had  ceased  to  touch  the  springs  of  epigram.  The  hat  was  often  seen  there  now,  for  it  had   been  decided  that  it  was  better  for  Lily's  father  to  visit  her  than  for  the  little  girl  to  go  to  his  boarding-­‐ house.  Waythorn,  having  acquiesced  in  this  arrangement,  had  been  surprised  to  find  how  little  difference   it  made.  Haskett  was  never  obtrusive,  and  the  few  visitors  who  met  him  on  the  stairs  were  unaware  of  his   identity.  Waythorn  did  not  know  how  often  he  saw  Alice,  but  with  himself  Haskett  was  seldom  in  contact.                 One  afternoon,  however,  he  learned  on  entering  that  Lily's  father  was  waiting  to  see  him.  In  the  library  he   found  Haskett  occupying  a  chair  in  his  usual  provisional  way.  Waythorn  always  felt  grateful  to  him  for  not   leaning  back.                 "I  hope  you'll  excuse  me,  Mr.  Waythorn,"  he  said  rising.  "I  wanted  to  see  Mrs.  Waythorn  about  Lily,  and   your  man  asked  me  to  wait  here  till  she  came  in."                 "Of  course,"  said  Waythorn,  remembering  that  a  sudden  leak  had  that  morning  given  over  the  drawing-­‐ room  to  the  plumbers.                 He  opened  his  cigar-­‐case  and  held  it  out  to  his  visitor,  and  Haskett's  acceptance  seemed  to  mark  a  fresh   stage  in  their  intercourse.  The  spring  evening  was  chilly,  and  Waythorn  invited  his  guest  to  draw  up  his   chair  to  the  fire.  He  meant  to  find  an  excuse  to  leave  Haskett  in  a  moment;  but  he  was  tired  and  cold,  and   after  all  the  little  man  no  longer  jarred  on  him.                 The  two  were  inclosed  in  the  intimacy  of  their  blended  cigar-­‐  smoke  when  the  door  opened  and  Varick   walked  into  the  room.  Waythorn  rose  abruptly.  It  was  the  first  time  that  Varick  had  come  to  the  house,   and  the  surprise  of  seeing  him,  combined  with  the  singular  inopportuneness  of  his  arrival,  gave  a  new   edge  to  Waythorn's  blunted  sensibilities.  He  stared  at  his  visitor  without  speaking.                 Varick  seemed  too  preoccupied  to  notice  his  host's  embarrassment.                 "My  dear  fellow,"  he  exclaimed  in  his  most  expansive  tone,  "I  must  apologize  for  tumbling  in  on  you  in   this  way,  but  I  was  too  late  to  catch  you  down  town,  and  so  I  thought  -­‐-­‐  "  He  stopped  short,  catching  sight   of  Haskett,  and  his  sanguine  color  deepened  to  a  flush  which  spread  vividly  under  his  scant  blond  hair.   But  in  a  moment  he  recovered  himself  and  nodded  slightly.  Haskett  returned  the  bow  in  silence,  and   Waythorn  was  still  groping  for  speech  when  the  footman  came  in  carrying  a  tea-­‐table.                 The  intrusion  offered  a  welcome  vent  to  Waythorn's  nerves.  "What  the  deuce  are  you  bringing  this  here   for?"  he  said  sharply.                 "I  beg  your  pardon,  sir,  but  the  plumbers  are  still  in  the  drawing-­‐room,  and  Mrs.  Waythorn  said  she   would  have  tea  in  the  library."  The  footman's  perfectly  respectful  tone  implied  a  reflection  on  Waythorn's   reasonableness.                 "Oh,  very  well,"  said  the  latter  resignedly,  and  the  footman  proceeded  to  open  the  folding  tea-­‐table  and   set  out  its  complicated  appointments.  While  this  interminable  process  continued  the  three  men  stood   motionless,  watching  it  with  a  fascinated  stare,  till  Waythorn,  to  break  the  silence,  said  to  Varick:  "Won't   you  have  a  cigar?"                 He  held  out  the  case  he  had  just  tendered  to  Haskett,  and  Varick  helped  himself  with  a  smile.  Waythorn   looked  about  for  a  match,  and  finding  none,  proffered  a  light  from  his  own  cigar.  Haskett,  in  the   background,  held  his  ground  mildly,  examining  his  cigar-­‐tip  now  and  then,  and  stepping  forward  at  the   right  moment  to  knock  its  ashes  into  the  fire.                 The  footman  at  last  withdrew,  and  Varick  immediately  began:  "If  I  could  just  say  half  a  word  to  you  about   this  business  -­‐-­‐  "                 "Certainly,"  stammered  Waythorn;  "in  the  dining-­‐room  -­‐-­‐  "                 But  as  he  placed  his  hand  on  the  door  it  opened  from  without,  and  his  wife  appeared  on  the  threshold.                 She  came  in  fresh  and  smiling,  in  her  street  dress  and  hat,  shedding  a  fragrance  from  the  boa  which  she   loosened  in  advancing.                 "Shall  we  have  tea  in  here,  dear?"  she  began;  and  then  she  caught  sight  of  Varick.  Her  smile  deepened,   veiling  a  slight  tremor  of  surprise.  "Why,  how  do  you  do?"  she  said  with  a  distinct  note  of  pleasure.                 As  she  shook  hands  with  Varick  she  saw  Haskett  standing  behind  him.  Her  smile  faded  for  a  moment,  but   she  recalled  it  quickly,  with  a  scarcely  perceptible  side-­‐glance  at  Waythorn.                 "How  do  you  do,  Mr.  Haskett?"  she  said,  and  shook  hands  with  him  a  shade  less  cordially.                 The  three  men  stood  awkwardly  before  her,  till  Varick,  always  the  most  self-­‐possessed,  dashed  into  an   explanatory  phrase.                 "We  -­‐  I  had  to  see  Waythorn  a  moment  on  business,"  he  stammered,  brick-­‐red  from  chin  to  nape.                 Haskett  stepped  forward  with  his  air  of  mild  obstinacy.  "I  am  sorry  to  intrude;  but  you  appointed  five   o'clock  -­‐-­‐  "  he  directed  his  resigned  glance  to  the  time-­‐piece  on  the  mantel.                 She  swept  aside  their  embarrassment  with  a  charming  gesture  of  hospitality.                 "I'm  so  sorry  -­‐  I'm  always  late;  but  the  afternoon  was  so  lovely."  She  stood  drawing  her  gloves  off,   propitiatory  and  graceful,  diffusing  about  her  a  sense  of  ease  and  familiarity  in  which  the  situation  lost  its   grotesqueness.  "But  before  talking  business,"  she  added  brightly,  "I'm  sure  every  one  wants  a  cup  of  tea."                 She  dropped  into  her  low  chair  by  the  tea-­‐table,  and  the  two  visitors,  as  if  drawn  by  her  smile,  advanced   to  receive  the  cups  she  held  out.                 She  glanced  about  for  Waythorn,  and  he  took  the  third  cup  with  a  laugh.    

Tutor Answer

School: Carnegie Mellon University

Kindly have a look

Running head: "THE OTHER TWO" AND "SOULS BELATED" read


Institution Affiliation





Question One
Both Wharton and Henry have a lot in common when it comes to their writing. For instance,
their dialog is done in a similar manner. Th...

flag Report DMCA

Tutor went the extra mile to help me with this essay. Citations were a bit shaky but I appreciated how well he handled APA styles and how ok he was to change them even though I didnt specify. Got a B+ which is believable and acceptable.

Similar Questions
Hot Questions
Related Tags
Study Guides

Brown University

1271 Tutors

California Institute of Technology

2131 Tutors

Carnegie Mellon University

982 Tutors

Columbia University

1256 Tutors

Dartmouth University

2113 Tutors

Emory University

2279 Tutors

Harvard University

599 Tutors

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

2319 Tutors

New York University

1645 Tutors

Notre Dam University

1911 Tutors

Oklahoma University

2122 Tutors

Pennsylvania State University

932 Tutors

Princeton University

1211 Tutors

Stanford University

983 Tutors

University of California

1282 Tutors

Oxford University

123 Tutors

Yale University

2325 Tutors