“Oh! love’s young dream, and the habit of long association,” returned the contralto. I’ve heard that Lil was Dicky’s first love. She was a stunner for looks 19 years ago, and Dicky was just young enough to be swept off his feet.”
“That must have been before Lil married that unspeakable Morten, the fellow she divorced, wasn’t it?” interrupted the soprano.
“Yes, it was,” the contralto answered. “I don’t know whether Dicky has been half in love with Lil all these years or not, but he certainly has been her best friend. And now comes the news of his marriage to somebody the crowd never heard of.”
“Well, I think Lil may say good-by to her Dicky-bird now,” returned the first speaker. “That bride is quite the prettiest piece of flesh and blood I’ve seen for many days.”
“She is all of that,” agreed the other, “She holds all the best cards, but you’ll find she is too statuesque and dignified to play them. I saw her face tonight when Lil was talking to her. She is not accustomed to Lil’s kind, and she does not like her friendship with Dicky.”
“You can’t blame her for that,” interrupted the soprano. “I am sure I would not like to see my husband dancing attendance on Lillian Gale.”
“No, of course not,” the contralto replied; “but she will be just fool enough to show Dicky her feelings, and Dicky, who is the soul of loyalty to his friends, will resent her attitude and try to make it up to Lil and Harry by being extra nice to them. It’s too bad. But then, these marble statue sort of women always sacrifice their love for their pride or their fool notions or propriety.”
“It will be as good as a play to watch the developments,” the soprano commented. “Come on, we’ll be too late for the curtain.”
I felt suddenly faint, and the room appeared to whirl around me. The maid touched me on the arm.
“Are you ill, madame? Here!” and she held a glass of water to my lips. I drank it and motioned her away.
“I’ll be all right in a moment,” I murmured. “Thank you, but I am quite well.”
So this was what marriage would mean to me, a contest with another woman for my husband’s love! A fierce anger took possession of me. One moment I regretted my marriage to Dicky, the next I was fiercely primitive as any savage woman in my desire to crush my rival. I could have strangled Lillian Gale in that moment. Then common sense came back to me. What was it that woman had said? I had all the best cards in my hand? Well! I would play them. I felt sure that Dicky loved me. I would not jeopardize that love for a temporary pride. I would eliminate Lillian Gale from Dicky’s life, but I would bide my time to do it.
If anybody wishes an infallible recipe for taking the romance out of life, I can recommend washing a pile of dishes which have been left over from the day before, especially if there be among them a number of greasy pots and pans. Restoring order to a badly cluttered room is another glamour destroyer, but the first prize, I stoutly affirm, goes to the dishes.