“Could you explain some those motives?” She tried to make her voice cold and distant, but only succeeded in making it pathetic.
“I could—but I think it better, wiser and more honorable not to. You know, dear, why I want to know. Because I want you to be the happiest woman in the whole world—and if Sanford Embury can’t make you so—”
“Nobody can!” she interrupted him, quickly. “Don’t, Mason,” she turned a pleading look toward him; “don’t say anything we may both regret. You know how good Sanford is to me; you know how happy we are together”
“Were,” he corrected, very gravely.
“Were—and are,” she insisted. “And you know, too—no one better—what a fiendish temper I have! Though I try my best to control it, it breaks out now and then, and I am helpless. Sanford thinks he can tame it by giving me as good as I send —by playing, as he calls it, Petruchio to my Katherine—but, somehow, I don’t believe that’s the treatment I need.”
Her dark eyes were wistful, but she did not look at him.
“Of course it isn’t!” Elliott returned, in a low voice. “I know your nature, Eunice; I’ve known it all our lives. You need kindness when you are in a tantrum. The outbursts of temper you cannot help—that I know positively—they’re an integral part of your nature. But they’re soon over—often the fiercer they are, the quicker they pass,—and if you were gently managed, not brutally, at the time they occur, it would go far to help you to overcome them entirely. But—and I ask you again—what were you discussing to-day when I came?”
“Why do you want to know?”
“I think I do know—and forgive me, if I offend you—I think I can help you.”
“What do you mean? “Eunice looked up with a frightened stare.
“Don’t look like that—oh, Eunice, don’t! I only meant—I know you want money—ready money—let me give it to you—or lend it to you—do, Eunice—darling!”
“Thank you, Mason,” Eunice forced herself to say, “but I must refuse your offer. I think—I think we—we’ll go home now.”
A SLAMMED DOOR
“Don’t you call her ’that Desternay woman’!”
“I’ll call her what I please! And without asking your permission, either. And I won’t have my wife playing bridge at what is practically a gambling house!”
“Nothing of the sort! A party of invited guests, in a private house is a social affair, and you shall not call it ridiculous names! You play for far higher stakes at your club than we ever do at Fifi Desternay’s.”
“That name is enough! Fancy your associating with a woman who calls herself Fifi!”
“She can’t help her name! It was probably wished on her by her parents in baptism—”
“It probably was not! She was probably christened Mary Jane!”
“You seem to know a lot about her.”