Dicky has just ’phoned up from the smoking room to ask me if my hour isn’t up. How his voice clears away all the miasma of my miserable thoughts! Please God, Dicky, I am going to lock up all my old ideas in the most unused closet of my brain, and try my best to be a good wife to you! I will be happy! I will! I will!
THE FIRST QUARREL
“I’ll give you three guesses, Madge.” Dicky stood just inside the door of the living room, holding an immense parcel carefully wrapped. His hat was on the back of his head, his eyes shining, his whole face aglow with boyish mischief.
“It’s for you, my first housekeeping present, that is needed in every well regulated family,” he burlesqued boastfully, “but you are not to see it until we have something to eat, and you have guessed what it is.”
“I know it is something lovely, dear,” I replied sedately, “but come to your dinner. It is getting cold.”
Dicky looked a trifle hurt as he followed me to the dining room. I knew what he expected—enthusiastic curiosity and a demand for the immediate opening of the parcel, I can imagine the pretty enthusiasm, the caresses with which almost any other woman would have greeted a bridegroom of two weeks with his first present.
But it’s simply impossible for me to gush. I cannot express emotion of any kind with the facility of most women. I worshipped my mother, but I rarely kissed her or expressed my love for her in words. My love for Dicky terrifies me sometimes, it is so strong, but I cannot go up to him and offer him an unsolicited kiss or caress. Respond to his caresses, yes! but offer them of my own volition, never! There is something inside me that makes it an absolute impossibility.
“What’s the menu, Madge? The beef again?”
Dicky’s tone was mildly quizzical, his smile mischievous, but I flushed hotly. He had touched a sore spot. The butcher had brought me a huge slab of meat for my first dinner when I had timidly ordered “rib roast,” and with the aid of my mother’s cook book and my own smattering of cooking, my sole housewifely accomplishment, I had been trying to disguise it for subsequent meals.
“This is positively its last appearance on any stage,” I assured him, trying to be gay. “Besides, it’s a casserole, with rice, and I defy you to detect whether the chief ingredient be fish, flesh or fowl.”
“Casserole is usually my pet aversion,” Dicky said solemnly. Look not on the casserole when it is table d’hote, is one of the pet little proverbs in my immediate set. Too much like Spanish steak and the other good chances for ptomaines. But if you made it I’ll tackle it—if you have to call the ambulance in the next half-hour.”
“Dicky, you surely do not think I would use meat that was doubtful, do you?” I asked, horror-stricken. “Don’t eat it. Wait and I’ll fix up some eggs for you.”