Madam Bowker, struck by the searching wisdom of this remark, was silenced for the moment. In the interval of thought she reflected that she would do well to take counsel of herself alone in proceeding to break this engagement. “You are on the verge of making a terrible misstep, child,” said she with a gentleness she had rarely shown even to her favorite grandchild. “I shall think it over, and you will think it over. At least, promise me you will not see Craig for a few days.”
Margaret hesitated. Her grandmother, partly by this unusual gentleness, partly by inducing the calmer reflection of the second thought, had shaken her purpose more than she would have believed possible. “If I’ve made a mistake,” said she, “isn’t seeing him the best way to realize it?”
“Yes,” instantly and emphatically admitted the acute old lady. “See him, by all means. See as much of him as possible. And in a few days you will be laughing at yourself—and very much ashamed.”
“I wonder,” said Margaret aloud, but chiefly to herself.
And Madam Bowker, seeing the doubt in her face, only a faint reflection of the doubt that must be within, went away content.
PUTTING DOWN A MUTINY
Margaret made it an all but inflexible rule not to go out, but to rest and repair one evening in each week; that was the evening, under the rule, but she would have broken the rule had any opportunity offered. Of course, for the first time since the season began, no one sent or telephoned to ask her to fill in at the last moment. She half-expected Craig, though she knew he was to be busy; he neither came nor called up. She dined moodily with the family, sat surlily in a corner of the veranda until ten o’clock, hid herself in bed. She feared she would have a sleepless night. But she had eaten no dinner; and, as indigestion is about the only thing that will keep a healthy human being awake, she slept dreamlessly, soundly, not waking until Selina slowly and softly opened the inner blinds of her bedroom at eight the next morning.
There are people who are wholly indifferent about their surroundings, and lead the life dictated by civilized custom only because they are slaves of custom, Margaret was not one of these. She not only adopted all the comforts and luxuries that were current, she also spent much tune in thinking out new luxuries, new refinements upon those she already had. She was through, and through the luxurious idler; she made of idling a career—pursued it with intelligent purpose where others simply drifted, yawning when pastimes were not provided for them. She was as industrious and ingenious at her career as a Craig at furthering himself and his ideas in a public career.