“You know why.”
“You can’t bully me any more, David,” she told him gently. “That’s the tragic part of it,” she added under her breath. She liked David, but she wished he would go. She wished they would all go. It must be very late.
It was still later, however, before the last guest departed. That last guest was Frances Maury, escorted by a glum David. Oliver had kept her on.
“Myra and I always get to bed so early that it’s a relief to stay up for once,” he had said.
“Of course it’s much more sensible to go to bed early.” Miss Maury’s voice did not sound as if sensible things appealed to her.
“Oliver has to be at his office so early in the morning,” Myra put in almost as an apology.
“She sees to that,” came from Oliver, with a humorous inflection.
Frances Maury playfully shuddered.
“Wives have too many duties for me. I shall never marry.”
“Don’t,” said Oliver, and realized his blunder. He glanced quickly at Myra, and was relieved to observe that she did not seem troubled.
It was David, at last, who insisted on going home. Frances obeyed him with a laughing apology.
“You’ve given me such a good time. I forgot the hour. May I come again?”
“Indeed you must,” Myra answered hospitably.
She would not leave, however, until they had promised to come to her concert. She would send them tickets. And they must have tea with her soon. Would they chaperon her once in a while? Oliver eagerly promised to be at her beck and call. He followed her out into the hall, unmindful of David’s vile temper.
Myra turned slowly back into the room, noting with jaded eyes the empty beer-bottles, crusts of sandwiches, ashes on the rugs, chairs pulled crazily about. The place still resounded with chatter and song. It no longer seemed her home.
Presently Oliver joined her.
“Well, I enjoyed that,” he said with a boyish ring. “Come, now, wasn’t it jolly to see people again? Everyone had a wonderful time.” He hummed as he walked lightly over to the table and helped himself to a cigarette.
She dropped on the couch.
“I’m a little tired.”
He lit his cigarette, staring at her over the tiny flame of the match before he blew it out.
“Why, I never noticed. You do look all in.”
She straightened with an effort, put a hand to her hair.
“I’m afraid I’ve lost the habit.”
“You’ll have to get it again,” he said happily. “We’re going to give lots of parties. It’s good for my business, too. Walter Mason brought a man here to-night who is thinking of building a house on Long Island. Walter tells me he went away quite won over.”
She was all interest at once.
“Why didn’t you tell me? I might have made a special effort to be nice to him.”
“Oh, he had a good time,” he said carelessly. “I say, Myra, your friend Miss Maury is fascinating. Sings divinely.” He moved over to the couch and sat on the edge of it, absent-mindedly toying with her hand.