She turned to show the letter to Maurice, but he was sitting sidewise, one arm over the back of his chair, in vociferous discussion with a fellow boarder. “No, sir!” he was declaring; “if they revise the rules again, they’ll revise the guts out of the whole blessed game; they’ll make it all muscle and no mind.”
“But football isn’t any intellectual stunt,” the other boarder insisted.
“It is—to a degree. The old flying wedge—”
“Maurice!” Eleanor said again; but Maurice, impassioned about “rules,” didn’t even hear her. She gave his arm a little friendly shake. “Maurice! You are the limit, with your old football!”
He turned, laughing, and took the letter from her hand. As he read it, his face changed sharply. “But Fern Hill is in Medfield!” he exclaimed.
“I suppose she could take the trolley almost to the school grounds,” Eleanor conceded, reluctantly.
“Why can’t she live out there? It’s a boarding school, isn’t it?” (She might meet Lily on the car!)
For a moment she accepted his decision with relief; then the thought of his comfort urged her: “I know of an awfully attractive house, with a garden. Little Bingo could hide his bones in it.”
“No,” he said, sharply; “it wouldn’t do. I don’t want her.”
Instantly Eleanor was buoyantly ready to have Edith ... he “didn’t want her!” When Maurice rose from the table she went to the front door with him, detaining him—until the pretty school-teacher was well on her way down the street;—with tender charges to take care of himself. Then, in the darkness of the hall, with Maurice very uneasy lest some one might see them, she kissed him good-by. “If we could afford to keep house without taking Edith,” she said, “I’d rather not have her. (Kiss me again—no-body’s looking!) But we can’t. So let’s have her.”
“In two years I’ll have my own money,” he reminded her; “this hard sledding is only temporary.” But she looked so disappointed that he hesitated; after all, if she wanted a house so much he ought not to stand in the way. Poor Eleanor hadn’t much fun! And, as far as he was concerned, he would like to have Edith around. “It’s only the Medfield part of it I don’t like,” he told himself. Yet Lily, on Maple Street, a mile from Fern Hill, was a needle in a haystack! (And even if Edith should ever see her, she wouldn’t know her.) ... “If you really want to have her,” he told Eleanor, “go ahead.”
So that was how it happened that Edith burst in upon Eleanor’s dear domesticity of two. Maurice, having once agreed to his wife’s wish, was rather pleased at the prospect. “It will help on money,” he thought; “another hundred a year will come in handy to Lily. And it will be sort of nice to have Buster in the house.”