With this one exception. Eunice found it intolerable to be cramped and pinched for small amounts of ready cash, when her husband was a rich man. Nor was Embury mean, or even economical of nature. He was more than willing that his wife should have all the extravagant luxuries she desired. He was entirely ready to pay any and all bills that she might contract. Never had he chided her for buying expensive or unnecessary finery—even more, he had always admired her taste and shown pleasure at her purchases. He was proud of her beauty and willing it should be adorned. He was proud of her grace and charm and willing that the household appointments should provide an appropriate setting for her hospitality. They were both fond of entertaining and never was there a word of protest from him as to the amounts charged by florists and caterers.
And yet, by reason of some crank, crotchet or perverse notion, Embury was unwilling to give his wife what is known as “pin money.”
“Buy your pins at the best jewelers’,” he would laugh, “and send the bills to me; buy your hats and gowns from the Frenchiest shops—you can get credit anywhere on my name—Good Lord! Tiger, what more can a woman want?”
Nor would he agree to her oft-repeated explanations that there were a thousand and one occasions when some money was an absolute necessity. Or, if persuaded, he gave her a small amount and expected it to last indefinitely.
It is difficult to know just what was the reason for this attitude. Sanford Embury was not a miser. He was not penurious or stingy. He subscribed liberally to charities, many of them unknown to the public, or even to his wife, but some trick of nature, some twist in his brain, made this peculiarity of his persistent and ineradicable.
Now, Eunice Embury was possessed of a quick, sometimes ungovernable temper. It was because of this that her husband called her Tiger. And also, as he declared, because her beautiful, lithe grace was suggestive of “the fearful symmetry” of the forest tribe.
She had tried honestly to control her quick anger, but it would now and then assert itself in spite of her, and Embury delighted to liken her to Katherine, and declared that he must tame her as Petruchio tamed his shrew.
This annoyed Eunice far more than she let him know, for she was well aware that if he thought it teased her, he would more frequently try Petruchio’s methods.
So, when she flew into a rage, and he countered with a fiercer anger, she knew he was assuming it purposely, and she usually quieted down, as the better part of valor.
On this particular occasion Eunice had taken advantage of a quiet, pleasant tete-a-tete to bring up the subject.
Embury had heard her pleading, not unkindly, but with a bored air, and had finally remarked, as she paused in her arguments, “I refuse, Eunice, to give you a stated allowance. If you haven’t sufficient confidence in your husband’s generosity to trust him to give you all you want or need, and even more than that, then you are ungrateful for what I have given you. And that’s my last word on the subject.”