“You ought to preserve that grouch,” she carelessly advised, as he stood holding the door open for her. “Carefully corked in a glass jar, it ought to keep to be given to your grandchildren as a horrible example.”
Dicky grinned reluctantly and bowed low as she passed out of the room with a cordial adieu to me, but no sooner had the door closed behind her than he turned to me angrily.
“Look here, Madge,” he exclaimed, “are you really in earnest about taking that blasted position?”
“Why! of course I am,” I answered. “It seems providential, coming just as you insist upon having the maid. I can engage one with a clear conscience now.”
Dicky sprang to his feet with a muttered word that sounded suspiciously like an oath, and began to walk rapidly up and down the room, his hands behind his back, and his face dark with anger. Up and down, up and down he paced, while I, sitting quietly in my chair, waited, nerving myself for the scene I anticipated.
When it came, however, it surprised me with the turn it took. Dicky stopped suddenly in his pacing, and coming swiftly over to me, dropped on one knee beside my chair and put his arms around me.
“Sweetheart,” he said softly, “I don’t want to quarrel about this, nor do I wish to be unreasonable about it. But, really, it means an awful lot to me. I don’t want you to do it. Won’t you give it up for me?”
I returned Dicky’s kiss, and held him tightly as I answered:
“Dear boy, I’ll think it over very carefully. If I possibly can, I will do as you wish. But, remember, I say if I can. I haven’t made you a definite promise yet.”
“But you will, I know; that’s my own dear girl. Good-by. I’ll have to rush back to the studio now.”
Dicky’s tone was light and confident as he rose. Life always has been easy for Dicky. I heard him say once he never could remember the time when he didn’t get his own way.
“Always your jack”
As soon as Dicky had left the house I cleared away the dishes and washed them and prepared a dessert for dinner. Then, finding the want advertisements of the Sunday papers, I looked carefully through the columns headed “Situations Wanted, Female.”
I clipped the advertisements and fastened each neatly to a sheet of notepaper. Then I wrote beneath each one: “Please call Thursday or Friday. Ask for Mrs. Richard Graham, Apartment 4, 46 East Twenty-ninth street.”
I addressed the envelopes properly, inserted the answers in the envelopes, sealed and stamped them, then ran out to the post box on the corner with them. I walked back very slowly, for there was nothing more that needed to be done, and I could put off no longer the settling of my problem.
I locked the door of my room, pulled down the shade and, exchanging my house dress for a comfortable negligee, lay down upon my bed to think things out.