He must have made more clatter than he supposed with his key at the apartment door, for his wife had come to let him in when he flung it open. “Why, Basil,” she said, “what’s brought you back? Are you sick? You’re all pale. Well, no wonder! This is the last of Mr. Fulkerson’s dinners you shall go to. You’re not strong enough for it, and your stomach will be all out of order for a week. How hot you are! and in a drip of perspiration! Now you’ll be sick.” She took his hat away, which hung dangling in his hand, and pushed him into a chair with tender impatience. “What is the matter? Has anything happened?”
“Everything has happened,” he said, getting his voice after one or two husky endeavors for it; and then he poured out a confused and huddled statement of the case, from which she only got at the situation by prolonged cross-questioning.
At the end she said, “I knew Lindau would get you into trouble.”
This cut March to the heart. “Isabel!” he cried, reproachfully.
“Oh, I know,” she retorted, and the tears began to come. “I don’t wonder you didn’t want to say much to me about that dinner at breakfast. I noticed it; but I thought you were just dull, and so I didn’t insist. I wish I had, now. If you had told me what Lindau had said, I should have known what would have come of it, and I could have advised you—”
“Would you have advised me,” March demanded, curiously, “to submit to bullying like that, and meekly consent to commit an act of cruelty against a man who had once been such a friend to me?”
“It was an unlucky day when you met him. I suppose we shall have to go. And just when we bad got used to New York, and begun to like it. I don’t know where we shall go now; Boston isn’t like home any more; and we couldn’t live on two thousand there; I should be ashamed to try. I’m sure I don’t know where we can live on it. I suppose in some country village, where there are no schools, or anything for the children. I don’t know what they’ll say when we tell them, poor things.”