The Vehement Flame eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 508 pages of information about The Vehement Flame.

Eleanor smiled, and called significantly to her husband, “Edith says your rescued friend isn’t a ‘lady,’ Maurice!” He didn’t answer, and she added to Edith, “No; she certainly isn’t a lady!  Darling,” she called again; “do you suppose she’s got married?”

To which he answered, “Where did I put those sheets of blotting paper, Eleanor?”

“Oh yes, she’s married,” Edith said, scraping her plate; “she told me her name was Mrs.  Henry Dale.  She couldn’t seem to remember Maurice giving her his coat, which I thought was rather funny in her, ’cause Maurice is so handsome you’d think she’d remember him.  And I said he was ‘Mr. Curtis,’ and she said she’d never heard the name.  I got to talking to her,” ("I bet you did,” Maurice thought, despairingly); “and she told me that ‘Jacky’ had had the measles, and been awfully sick, but he was all well now, and she’d taken him into Mercer to get him a cap.”  ("What’s Lily mean by bringing the Thing into town!” Jacky’s father was saying through set teeth.) “She was perfectly bursting with pride about him,” Edith went on; “said he was ‘a reg’lar rascal’!  Isn’t it queer that I should meet her, after all these years?”

When Eleanor went into the library to hunt for the blotting paper, she, too, commented on the queerness of Edith’s stumbling on the lady who wasn’t a lady.  “How small the world is!” said Eleanor.  “Why, Maurice, here’s the paper!  Right before you!”

“Oh,” said Maurice, “yes; thank you.”  He was saying to himself, “I might have known this kind of thing would happen!” He was consumed with anxiety to ask Edith some questions, but of course he had to be silent.  To show even the slightest interest was impossible—­and Edith volunteered no further information, for that night Eleanor took occasion to intimate to her that “Mrs. Dale” must not be referred to.  “You can’t speak of that kind of person, you know.”

“Why not?” Edith said.

“Well, she isn’t—­nice.  She wasn’t married.  And Edith, it really isn’t good taste to tell a man, right to his face, that he’s handsome!  I don’t think any man likes flattery.”

“You mean because I said Maurice was handsome?  I didn’t say it to his face—­he was in the library.  And it isn’t flattery to tell the truth.  He is!  As for Mrs. Dale, she is married; this little Jacky was her baby!  She said so.  He had the bluest eyes!  I never saw such blue eyes—­except Maurice’s.  ’Course she’s not a lady; but I don’t see what right you have to say she isn’t nice.”

Eleanor, laughing, threw up despairing hands; “Edith, don’t you know anything?”

“I know everything,” Edith said, affronted; “I’m sixteen.  Of course I know what you mean; but Mrs. Dale isn’t—­that.  And,” Edith ended, on the spur of the moment, “and I’m going to see her sometime!” The under dog always appealed to Edith Houghton, and when Eleanor left her, appalled by her failure to instill proprieties into her, Edith was distinctly hot.  “I’m not going to see her!” she told herself.  “I wouldn’t think of such a thing.  But I won’t listen to Eleanor abusing her.”

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The Vehement Flame from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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