“Oh, Jack, my rings!” I fairly shrieked. Then for the first time in my life I became hysterical, laughing and sobbing uncontrollably.
* * * * *
That night I told Dicky the whole story—not one word did I keep back from him—and when I came to the loss of my rings and the meeting with Harry Underwood, there developed a scene that I cannot even now bring myself to put down on paper. But at last Dicky managed to control himself enough to ask what I had told Harry Underwood.
“I told him that my rings had not been lost, that my gloves were too tight and that I had removed them to put on my gloves.”
“Good!” Dicky’s voice held a note of relenting. “That’s one thing saved, any way. Wonder your conscience would let you tell that much of a lie.”
His sneer aroused me. I had been speaking in a dreary monotone which typified my feeling. Now I faced him, indignant.
“See here, Dicky Graham, don’t you imagine it would have been easier for me to lie about all this? I didn’t need to tell you anything. Another thing I want you to understand plainly and that is my reason for not telling Jack at first that I was married.
“If I had had a real brother, you would have thought it perfectly natural for me to have waited for his return before I married. Now, no brother in the world could have been kinder to me than was Jack Bickett. We were indebted to him for a thousand kindnesses, for a lifetime of devotion. I never should have married without first telling him about it. Do you wonder that realizing this I delayed in every way the story of my marriage until I could find a suitable opportunity? I give you my word of honor that I did not dream he cared, and I expect you to believe me.”
I walked steadily toward the door of my bedroom. I had not reached it, however, before Dicky clasped me in his arms, and I felt his hot kisses on my face.
“I’m seventeen kinds of a jealous brute, I know, sweetheart,” he whispered, “but the thought of that other man, who seems to mean so much to you, drives me mad. I’m selfish, I know, but I’m mad about you.”
I put my arms around his neck. “Don’t you know, foolish Dicky,” I murmured, “that there’s nobody else in the world for me but just you, you, you?”
“If you aren’t cross and displeased”
Today my mother-in-law!
That was my thought when I awoke on the morning of the day which was to bring Dicky’s mother to live with us.
I am afraid if I set down my exact thoughts I should have to admit that I had a distinct feeling of rebellion against the expected visit of Dicky’s mother.
If it were only a visit! There was just the trouble. Then I could have welcomed my mother-in-law, entertained her royally, kept at top pitch all the time she was with us, guarded every word and action, and kept from her knowledge the fact that Dicky and I often quarrelled.