“Don’t say every-day things to me,” Anne had instructed Maxwell when he had first placed her behind a mottled marble pillar before leaving for the spot where he could speak to her by this unique wireless.
There came to her, therefore, a part of a famous speech; the murmured words flung back by that strange sounding board rang like a bell:
“Give me liberty or give me death!”
She emerged from her corner, starry-eyed. “It was as if I heard him say it.”
“Perhaps it was he, and I was only a mouthpiece.”
“I should think they’d like to come back. Will you come?”
He laughed. “Who knows? I’ll come if you are here.”
To have brought a third into these adventures would have robbed them of charm. Knowing this he argued that the child was safe with him. Why worry?
They always lunched together before he took her up to the Members’ Gallery, and went himself to the floor of the House. He let her order what she pleased and liked The definite way in which she did it. They had usually, chops and peas, or steak, and ice-cream at the end.
Then suddenly; things stopped. The reason that they stopped was Murray. He saw Anne one day in the House Gallery and asked Amy about it.
“How did she happen to be up there alone?”
Amy asked Anne. Anne told the truth.
“I’ve had lunch three times with Mr. Sears, and I’ve listened to his speeches. It’s something about the League of Nations. He believes in it, but thinks we’ve got to be careful about tying ourselves up.”
Amy did not care in the least what Maxwell Sears believed. The thing that worried her was Murray. She wanted him to approve of Anne. If Amy had thought in a less limited circle she might have worked the thing out that if Maxwell married Anne it would narrow Murray’s choice down to herself and Ethel. But there was always that vague fear of some outside siren who would capture Murray. If he had Anne, he would then be safely in the family.
She realized, in the days following the revelation of the clandestine meetings with Maxwell, that Murray was depending upon her to see that Anne’s affections did not stray into forbidden paths. He said as much one afternoon when he found Amy alone in an atmosphere of old portraits, old books, old bronzes. She sat in a Jacobean chair and poured tea for him. The massive lines of the chair made her proportions seem wraithlike. Her white face with its fixed spots of red was a high light among the shadows.
“She and Ethel have gone to the matinee with Molly Winchell.”
“Why didn’t you go?”
“Molly never takes but two of us and, of course, this is Anne’s first winter out. I have to step back—and let her have her chance.”
He chose to be gallant. “You are always lovely, Amy.”