Alice, in tears, could only give her her way.
Upon the discontented musings of Miss Margaret Clay one hot September morning came Mrs. Joseph Pickering, very charming in coffee-colored madras, with an exquisite heron cockade upon her narrow tan hat. Magsie was up, but not dressed, and was not ill pleased to have company. Her private as well as professional affairs were causing her much dissatisfaction of late, and she was at the moment in the act of addressing a letter to Warren, now on the ocean, from whom she had only this morning had an extremely disquieting letter.
Warren had come to see her the day before sailing, and with a grave determination new to their intercourse, had repeated several unpalatable truths. Rachael, on second thoughts, he told her, had absolutely refused him a divorce.
“But she can’t do that! She wrote me herself—” Magsie had begun in anger. His distressed voice interrupted her.
“She’s acting for the boys, Magsie. And she’s right.”
“Right!” The little actress turned pale as the full significance of his words and tone dawned upon her. “But—but what do you mean! What about me?”
To this Warren had only answered with an exquisitely uncomfortable look and the simple phrase, “Magsie, I’m sorry.”
“You mean that you’re not going to make her keep her word?”
And again she had put an imperative little hand upon his arm, sure of her power to win him ultimately. Days afterward the angry blood came into her face when she remembered his kind, his almost fatherly, smile, as he dislodged the hand.
“Magsie, I’m sorry. You can’t despise me as I despise myself, dear. I’m ashamed. Some day, perhaps, there’ll be something I can do for you, and then you’ll see by the way I do it that I want with all my heart to make it up to you. But I’m going away now, Magsie, and we mustn’t see each other any more.”
Magsie, repulsed, had flung herself the length of the little room.
“You dare tell me that, Greg?”
“I’m sorry, Magsie!”
“Sorry!” Her tone was vitriol. “Why, but I’ve got your letters. I’ve got your own words! Everyone knows-the whole world knows! Can you deny that you gave me this?—and this? Can you deny—”
“No, I’m not denying anything, Magsie. Except—that I never meant to hurt you. And I hope there was some happiness in it for you as there was for me.”
Magsie had dropped into a chair with her back to him.
“I’ve made you cross,” she said penitently, “and you’re punishing me! Was it my seeing Richie, Greg? You know I never cared—–”
“Don’t take that tone,” he said.
Her color flamed again, and she set her little teeth. He saw her breast rise and fall.
“Don’t think you can do this, Greg,” she said with icy viciousness. “Don’t delude yourself! I can punish you, and I will. Alice and George Valentine can fix it all up to suit themselves, but they don’t know me! You’ve said your say now, and I’ve listened. Very well!”