But his curiosity was neither meek nor accustomed to having its liberties interfered with, and it declined to leave the problem alone. Problem! It was a whole nest of problems. If you isolated one and worked out a tolerably satisfactory answer to it, you discovered that this answer made all the rest more fantastically impossible of solution than before. It actually began to cost him sleep! What made it harder to bear, of course, was the tantalizing possibility of finding out something by dropping in at the Globe during a performance, wandering back on the stage, where he was always perfectly welcome, going up and speaking to her and—seeing what happened. Something more or less illuminating would have to happen. Because, even in the extremely improbable case of her pretending she didn’t know him, he’d then have something to go on. He dismissed this temptation as often as it showed its face around the corner of the door of his mind—dismissed it with objurgations. But it was a persistent temptation and it wouldn’t stay away.
It was a real relief to him when Violet Williamson telephoned to him one day and asked him to come out to dinner. There’d be no one but herself and John, she said, and he needn’t dress unless he liked. She’d been in New York for a fortnight and had only been back two days. He mustn’t fail to come. There was a sort of suppressed excitement about Violet’s voice over the telephone, which led him to suspect she might be able to throw some light on the enigma.
But light, it appeared, was what John and Violet wanted from him.
They were both in the library when he came in, and after the barest preliminaries in the way of greetings and cigarettes, and the swiftest summary of her visit to New York ("I stayed just long enough to begin being not quite so furious with John for not taking me there to live,”) Violet made a little silence, visibly lighted her bomb, and threw it. “John and I went to the Globe last night to see The Girl Up-stairs,” she said.
Jimmy carried his cocktail over to the fire, drew sharply on his cigarette to get it evenly lighted, and by that time had decided on his line.
“That’s an amazing resemblance, isn’t it?” he said.
“Resemblance fiddle-dee-dee!” said Violet.
John Williamson hunched himself around in his chair. “Well, you know,” he protested to his wife, “that’s the way I dope it out myself.”
“Oh, you!” she said, with good-natured contempt. “You think you think so. Because you’ve always been wild about Rose ever since Rodney married her, you just won’t let yourself think anything else. But Jimmy here, doesn’t even think he thinks so. He knows better.”
“They’re the limit, aren’t they?” said John in rueful appeal to his guest. “They not only know what you think, but what you think you think! It’s a marvelous thing—feminine intuition.”
“‘Intuition,’ nothing!” said Violet. Then she rounded on Jimmy.