Ilse came in May—a gay, laughing Ilse. Almost _too_ gay and laughing, Emil_hought. Ilse had always been a merry, irresponsible creature; but not quit_o unceasingly so as now. She never had a serious mood, apparently. She made _est of everything, even her marriage. Aunt Elizabeth and Aunt Laura wer_uite shocked at her. A girl who was so soon to assume the responsibilities o_edded life should be more thoughtful and sober. Ilse told Emily they wer_id-Victorian screams. She chatted ceaselessly when she and Emily wer_ogether, but never _talked_ to her, despite the desire expressed in he_etters for old-time spiels. Perhaps she was not quite all to blame for this.
Emily, in spite of her determination to be exactly the same as of yore, coul_ot help a certain restraint and reserve, born of her secret pain and he_ierce determination to hide it. Ilse felt the restraint, though wholl_nsuspicious of the cause. Emily was just naturally growing a little bit Ne_oonish, that was all, living there alone with those dear old antediluvians.
"When Teddy and I come back and set up house in Montreal you must spend ever_inter with us, darling. New Moon is a dear place in summer, but in winter yo_ust be absolutely buried alive."
Emily made no promises. She did not see herself as a guest in Teddy's home.
Every night she told herself she could not possibly endure tomorrow. But whe_o-morrow came it was livable. It was even possible to talk dress and detail_almly with Ilse. The harebell blue dress became a reality and Emily tried i_n two nights before Teddy was expected home. The wedding was only two week_way now.
"You look like a dream in it, Emily," said Ilse, stretched out on Emily's be_ith the grace and abandon of a cat—Teddy's sapphire blotting her finge_arkly. "You'll make all my velvet and lace gorgeousness look obvious an_rude. Did I tell you Teddy is bringing Lorne Halsey with him for best man?
I'm positively thrilled—the great Halsey. His mother has been so ill he didn'_hink he could come. But the obliging old lady has suddenly recovered and he'_ctually coming. His new book is a wow. Everybody in Montreal was raving ove_t and he's the most interesting and improbable creature. Wouldn't it b_onderful if you and he were to fall in love with each other, Emily?"
"Don't go matchmaking for me, Ilse," said Emily with a faint smile, as sh_ook off the harebell dress. "I feel in my bones that I shall achieve old-
maidenhood, which is an entirely different thing from having old-maidenhoo_hrust upon you."
"To be sure, he looks like a gargoyle," said Ilse meditatively. "If it hadn'_een for that I think I might have married him myself. I'm almost sure I coul_ave. His way of making love was to ask me my opinion about things. That wa_greeable. But I had a hunch that if we were married he would stop asking fo_y opinion. That would _not_ be agreeable. Besides, nobody could ever tel_hat he really thought. He might be looking as though he adored you an_hinking he saw crow's-feet around your eyes. By the way, isn't Teddy the mos_eautiful thing?"
"He was always a nice-looking boy."
"'A nice-looking boy,'" mimicked Ilse. "Emily Starr, if you ever do marry _ope your husband will chain you in the dog-kennel. I'll be calling you Aun_mily in a minute. Why, there's nobody in Montreal who can hold a candle t_im. It's his looks I love really—not him. Sometimes he bores me—really.
Although I was so sure he wouldn't. He never did before we were engaged. _ave a premonition that some day I'll throw the teapot at him. Isn't it a pit_e can't have two husbands? One to look at and one to talk to. But Teddy and _ill be by way of being a stunning couple, won't we, honey? He so dark—I s_air. Ideal. I've always wished I was 'a dark ladye'—like you—but when I sai_o to Teddy he just laughed and quoted the old verse,
> 'If the bards of old the truth have told
> The sirens have raven hair.
> But over the earth since art had birth,
> They paint the angels fair.'
That's the nearest Teddy will ever get to calling _me_ an angel. Luckily.
For when all's said and done, Emily, I'd rather—are you sure the door is shu_o that Aunt Laura won't drop dead?—I'd _much_ rather be a siren than a_ngel. Wouldn't you?"
"Let's check up the invitations now and make sure we haven't left anybod_ut," was Emily's response to this riot of words.
"Isn't it terrible to belong to a clan like ours?" said Ilse peevishly.
"There's such a ghastly lot of old frumps and bores that have to be amon_hose present. I hope some day I'll get where there are no relations. I wis_he whole damn affair was over. You're sure you addressed a bid to Perry,
"I wonder if he'll come? I hope he will. What a goose I was ever to fancy _ared so much for him! I used to hope—all sorts of things, in spite of th_act I knew he was crazy about you. But I never hoped after Mrs. Chidlaw'_inner-dance. Do you remember it, Emily?"
Yes, Emily remembered _that._
"Till then I'd always hoped a _little_ —that some day when he realized h_ouldn't have you—I'd catch his heart on the rebound—wasn't that the Victoria_hrase? I thought he'd be at the Chidlaws'—I knew he had been invited. And _sked Teddy if Perry were coming. Teddy looked right into my eyes meaningl_nd said, 'Perry will not be here. He's working on the case he has to appea_n to-morrow. Perry's goal is ambition. He has no time for love.'
"I knew he was trying to warn me—and I knew it was no use to go o_oping—anything. So I gave up definitely. Well, it's turned out all right.
Isn't it charming how things do turn out so beautifully? Makes one quit_elieve in an overruling Providence. Isn't it nice to be able to blam_verything on God?"
Emily hardly heard Ilse as she mechanically hung up the blue dress in he_loset and slipped into a little green sport suit. So _that_ was what Tedd_ad said to Ilse that night years ago when she knew he had uttered the word
"love." And she had been so chilly to him because of it. Well, not likely i_attered. No doubt he had only been warning Ilse because he wanted her to tur_er maiden thoughts from Perry and concentrate them on himself. She fel_elieved when Ilse finally went home. Ilse's light, continual chatter rathe_ot on her nerves—though she was ashamed to admit it. But then her nerves wer_n edge under this long-drawn-out torture. Two weeks more of it—and then,