Young Howe had been firmly resolved to give up all his bachelor habits with

his wedding day. In his indolent, rather selfish way, he was much in love

with his wife.

But with the inevitable misunderstandings of the first months of marriage

had come a desire to be appreciated once again at his face value. Grace

had taken him, not for what he was, but for what he seemed to be. With

Christine the veil was rent. She knew him now--all his small indolences,

his affectations, his weaknesses. Later on, like other women since the

world began, she would learn to dissemble, to affect to believe him what

he was not.


Grace had learned this lesson long ago. It was the ABC of her knowledge.

And so, back to Grace six weeks after his wedding day came Palmer Howe, not

with a suggestion to renew the old relationship, but for comradeship.

Christine sulked--he wanted good cheer; Christine was intolerant--he wanted

tolerance; she disapproved of him and showed her disapproval--he wanted

approval. He wanted life to be comfortable and cheerful, without

recriminations, a little work and much play, a drink when one was thirsty.

Distorted though it was, and founded on a wrong basis, perhaps, deep in his

heart Palmer's only longing was for happiness; but this happiness must be

of an active sort--not content, which is passive, but enjoyment.

"Come on out," he said. "I've got a car now. No taxi working its head off

for us. Just a little run over the country roads, eh?"

It was the afternoon of the day before Christine's night visit to Sidney.

The office had been closed, owing to a death, and Palmer was in possession

of a holiday.

"Come on," he coaxed. "We'll go out to the Climbing Rose and have supper."

"I don't want to go."

"That's not true, Grace, and you know it."

"You and I are through."

"It's your doing, not mine. The roads are frozen hard; an hour's run into

the country will bring your color back."

"Much you care about that. Go and ride with your wife," said the girl, and

flung away from him.

The last few weeks had filled out her thin figure, but she still bore

traces of her illness. Her short hair was curled over her head. She

looked curiously boyish, almost sexless.

Because she saw him wince when she mentioned Christine, her ill temper

increased. She showed her teeth.

"You get out of here," she said suddenly. "I didn't ask you to come back.

I don't want you."

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