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Chapter 24

  • ### I
  • 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,
  • aren't you?"
  • "Yes."
  • "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,
  • thank God, at least peace.