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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 635 pages of information about The Old Wives' Tale.

She resented the injustice.  “I don’t think you need talk like that,” she said.

“Like what?” he bullied her, determined that she should be in the wrong.

And what a hard look on his pretty face!

Her prudence bade her accept the injustice.  She was his.  Rapt away from her own world, she was utterly dependent on his good nature.

“I knocked my chin against the damned balustrade, coming upstairs,” said Gerald, gloomily.

She knew that was a lie.  “Did you?” she replied kindly.  “Let me bathe it.”

CHAPTER III

AN AMBITION SATISFIED

I

She went to sleep in misery.  All the glory of her new life had been eclipsed.  But when she woke up, a few hours later, in the large, velvety stateliness of the bedroom for which Gerald was paying so fantastic a price per day, she was in a brighter mood, and very willing to reconsider her verdicts.  Her pride induced her to put Gerald in the right and herself in the wrong, for she was too proud to admit that she had married a charming and irresponsible fool.  And, indeed, ought she not to put herself in the wrong?  Gerald had told her to wait, and she had not waited.  He had said that he should return to the restaurant, and he had returned.  Why had she not waited?  She had not waited because she had behaved like a simpleton.  She had been terrified about nothing.  Had she not been frequenting restaurants now for a month past?  Ought not a married woman to be capable of waiting an hour in a restaurant for her lawful husband without looking a ninny?  And as for Gerald’s behaviour, how could he have acted differently?  The other Englishman was obviously a brute and had sought a quarrel.  His contradiction of Gerald’s statements was extremely offensive.  On being invited by the brute to go outside, what could Gerald do but comply?  Not to have complied might have meant a fight in the restaurant, as the brute was certainly drunk.  Compared to the brute, Gerald was not at all drunk, merely a little gay and talkative.  Then Gerald’s fib about his chin was natural; he simply wished to minimize the fuss and to spare her feelings.  It was, in fact, just like Gerald to keep perfect silence as to what had passed between himself and the brute.  However, she was convinced that Gerald, so lithe and quick, had given that great brute with his supercilious ways as good as he received, if not better.

And if she were a man and had asked her wife to wait in a restaurant, and the wife had gone home under the escort of another man, she would most assuredly be much more angry than Gerald had been.  She was very glad that she had controlled herself and exercised a meek diplomacy.  A quarrel had thus been avoided.  Yes, the finish of the evening could not be called a quarrel; after her nursing of his chin, nothing but a slight coolness on his part had persisted.

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