"Good Heavens, Grace! You always knew I would have to marry some day."
"I was sick; I nearly died. I didn't hear any reports of you hanging
around the hospital to learn how I was getting along."
He laughed rather sheepishly.
"I had to be careful. You know that as well as I do. I know half the staff
there. Besides, one of--" He hesitated over his wife's name. "A girl I
know very well was in the training-school. There would have been the devil
to pay if I'd as much as called up."
"You never told me you were going to get married."
Cornered, he slipped an arm around her. But she shook him off.
"I meant to tell you, honey; but you got sick. Anyhow, I--I hated to tell
He had furnished the flat for her. There was a comfortable feeling of
coming home about going there again. And, now that the worst minute of
their meeting was over, he was visibly happier. But Grace continued to
stand eyeing him somberly.
"I've got something to tell you," she said. "Don't have a fit, and don't
laugh. If you do, I'll--I'll jump out of the window. I've got a place in a
store. I'm going to be straight, Palmer."
"Good for you!"
He meant it. She was a nice girl and he was fond of her. The other was a
dog's life. And he was not unselfish about it. She could not belong to
him. He did not want her to belong to any one else.
"One of the nurses in the hospital, a Miss Page, has got me something to do
at Lipton and Homburg's. I am going on for the January white sale. If I
make good they will keep me."
He had put her aside without a qualm; and now he met her announcement with
approval. He meant to let her alone. They would have a holiday together,
and then they would say good-bye. And she had not fooled him. She still
cared. He was getting off well, all things considered. She might have
raised a row.
"Good work!" he said. "You'll be a lot happier. But that isn't any reason
why we shouldn't be friends, is it? Just friends; I mean that. I would
like to feel that I can stop in now and then and say how do you do."
"I promised Miss Page."
"Never mind Miss Page."
The mention of Sidney's name brought up in his mind Christine as he had
left her that morning. He scowled. Things were not going well at home.
There was something wrong with Christine. She used to be a good sport, but
she had never been the same since the day of the wedding. He thought her
attitude toward him was one of suspicion. It made him uncomfortable. But
any attempt on his part to fathom it only met with cold silence. That had
been her attitude that morning.