“Is this true?” asked Evan, presently, and I had never seen his eyes look so steely cold.
“Yes, I’m afraid so,” I answered, meeting his gaze.
“Where is the money?”
“Under their pillows; they expect to buy the red goat harness to-morrow.”
“It’s a crying shame, the whole thing. The poor little babies!”
“What shall I do?”
“You? Nothing. I shall return the money. This is my business; man to man. As a woman you inevitably must be emotional and make a doubtful issue of it. You mother the boys well, God knows; this is my chance to father them.”
“But the money,—shall I get it now?”
“No, in the morning; they will bring it to me, and I will make them understand, as far as babies may. In one way, I fear, we are unwittingly somewhat to blame ourselves. Every one who is drawn toward a social and financial class a little beyond his depth, and yields, though feeling the danger, is unwise. I think, sweetheart, this commuter, his wife, and babies had better be content to wade in safe shallows and not go within touch of the Whirlpool current.”
Then Evan and I went and stood silently by the two white beds, and now he is walking up and down in the garden smoking quietly, while I am writing up here, and unhappy because I think of to-morrow and the boys’ disappointment about the little red harness.
June 10. Sylvia Latham has returned alone. Her father came with her as far as Chicago, where, having business that would detain him for perhaps ten days, and warm weather having set in, he insisted that Sylvia should at once proceed eastward. At least that is what Miss Lavinia tells me; but she has suddenly turned quite reticent in everything that concerns the Lathams, which, together with Mrs. Jenks-Smith’s random remarks, have inevitably set me to thinking.
I had hoped to form a pleasant friendship with Sylvia, for though I have only met her two or three times, I feel as if I really knew her; but there will be little chance now, as they go on to Newport the first of July, and the continual procession of house parties, for golf, tennis, etc., at the Bluffs, even though they are called informal, necessarily stand in the way of intimate neighbourly relations between us. Monty Bell has been dividing his week ends between the Ponsonby, Vanderveer, and Jenks-Smith households, yet he always is in the foreground when I have been to see Sylvia, even though I have tried to slip in between times in the morning.
I do not like this Monty Bell; he seems to be merely an eater of dinners and a cajoler of dames, such superficial chivalry of speech as he exhibits being only one of the many expedients that gain him the title of “socially indispensable” that the Whirlpoolers accord him.