He shrugged, pursed his lips crookedly, rolled his head to signify the inexpressible. “Isn’t that like a woman?” he demanded. He rose. “Rather than let you in for a show of temper,” he said grandly, “I’d do anything.”
He wrote the letter, addressed it, his hand elaborately curved in secrecy about the envelope, pocketed it.
“Ina and I’ll walk down with you to mail it,” said Lulu.
Dwight hesitated, frowned. His Ina watched him with consulting brows.
“I was going,” said Dwight, “to propose a little stroll before bedtime.” He roved about the room. “Where’s my beautiful straw hat? There’s nothing like a brisk walk to induce sound, restful sleep,” he told them. He hummed a bar.
“You’ll be all right, mother?” Lulu asked.
Mrs. Bett did not look up. “These cardamon hev got a little mite too dry,” she said.
* * * * *
In their room, Ina and Dwight discussed the incredible actions of Lulu.
“I saw,” said Dwight, “I saw she wasn’t herself. I’d do anything to avoid having a scene—you know that.” His glance swept a little anxiously his Ina. “You know that, don’t you?” he sharply inquired.
“But I really think you ought to have written to Ninian about it,” she now dared to say. “It’s—it’s not a nice position for Lulu.”
“Nice? Well, but whom has she got to blame for it?”
“Why, Ninian,” said Ina.
Dwight threw out his hands. “Herself,” he said. “To tell you the truth, I was perfectly amazed at the way she snapped him up there in that restaurant.”
“Why, but, Dwight—”
“Brazen,” he said. “Oh, it was brazen.”
“It was just fun, in the first place.”
“But no really nice woman—” he shook his head.
“Dwight! Lulu is nice. The idea!”
He regarded her. “Would you have done that?” he would know.
Under his fond look, she softened, took his homage, accepted everything, was silent.
“Certainly not,” he said. “Lulu’s tastes are not fine like yours. I should never think of you as sisters.”
“She’s awfully good,” Ina said feebly. Fifteen years of married life behind her—but this was sweet and she could not resist.
“She has excellent qualities.” He admitted it. “But look at the position she’s in—married to a man who tells her he has another wife in order to get free. Now, no really nice woman—”
“No really nice man—” Ina did say that much.
“Ah,” said Dwight, “but you could never be in such a position. No, no. Lulu is sadly lacking somewhere.”
Ina sighed, threw back her head, caught her lower lip with her upper, as might be in a hem. “What if it was Di?” she supposed.
“Di!” Dwight’s look rebuked his wife. “Di,” he said, “was born with ladylike feelings.”
It was not yet ten o’clock. Bobby Larkin was permitted to stay until ten. From the veranda came the indistinguishable murmur of those young voices.