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Chapter 26

  • ### I
  • Ilse did not look as if she wanted excuses made for her when, two days later,
  • she walked unannounced into Emily's room. She looked rosy, audacious,
  • triumphant.
  • Emily stared at her.
  • "Well, I suppose the earthquake is over. What is left standing?"
  • "Ilse! How could you!"
  • Ilse pulled a notebook out of her handbag and pretended to consult it.
  • "I wrote down a list of the things you'd say. That was the first one. You'v_aid it. The next is, 'Aren't you ashamed of yourself?' I'm not, you know,'
  • added Ilse impudently.
  • "I know you're not. That's why I don't ask it."
  • "I'm not ashamed—and I'm not sorry. I'm only a little bit sorry that I'_not_  sorry. And I'm shamelessly happy. But I suppose I spoiled the party. N_oubt the old meows are having the time of their lives. They've got thei_raws full for once."
  • "How do you suppose Teddy is feeling?" asked Emily sternly.
  • "Is he feeling any worse than Dean did? There's an old proverb about glas_ouses."
  • Emily crimsoned.
  • "I know—I used Dean badly—but I didn't—
  • "Jilt him at the altar! True. But I didn't think about Teddy at all when _eard Aunt Ida say Perry was killed. I was quite mad. My one thought was t_ee Perry once before he died. I  _had_  to. And I found when I got ther_hat, as Mark Twain said, the report of his death was greatly exaggerated. H_asn't even badly hurt—was sitting up in bed, his face all bruised an_andaged—looking like the devil. Want to hear what happened, Emily?"
  • Ilse dropped on the floor at Emily's feet—and looked coaxingly up into Emily'_ace.
  • "Honey, what's the use of disapproving a thing that was foreordained? Tha_on't alter anything. I got a glimpse of Aunt Laura in the sitting-room as _neaked upstairs. She was looking like something that had been left ou_vernight. But you have a streak in you that isn't Murray.  _You_  shoul_nderstand. Don't waste your sympathy on Teddy. He doesn't love me—I've alway_nown it. It's only his conceit that will suffer. Here—give him his sapphir_or me, will you?" Ilse saw something in Emily's face she didn't like. "It ca_o to join Dean's emerald."
  • "Teddy left for Montreal the day after—after—"
  • "After the wedding that wasn't," finished Ilse. "Did you see him, Emily?"
  • "No."
  • "Well, if he'd go and shoot big game in Africa for awhile he'd get over i_ery quickly. Emily, I'm going to marry Perry—next year. It's all settled. _ell on his neck and kissed him as soon as I saw him. I let go my train and i_treamed magnificently over the floor. I knew the nurse thought I had just go_ut of Dr. Percy's private asylum. But I turned her out of the room. And _old Perry I loved him and that I would never, never marry Teddy Kent n_atter what happened—and then he asked me if I'd marry _him_ —or I told him h_ust marry me—or neither of us asked—we just understood. I honestly don'_emember which—and I don't care. Emily, if I were dead and Perry came an_ooked at me I'd live again. Of course I know he's always been after you—bu_e's going to love me as he never loved you. We were made for each other."
  • "Perry was never really in love with me," said Emily. "He liked m_remendously, that was all. He didn't know the difference—then." She looke_own into Ilse's radiant face—and all her old, old love for this perverse,
  • adorable friend rushed to eyes and lips.
  • "Dearest, I hope you'll be happy—always."
  • "How blessedly Victorian that sounds!" said Ilse contentedly. "Oh, I can b_uiet now, Emily. For weeks I've been afraid that if I let myself be quiet fo_ moment I'd  _bolt._  And I don't even mind if Aunt Janie is praying for me.
  • I believe I rather hope she is."
  • "What does your father say?"
  • "Oh, Dad." Ilse shrugged her shoulders. "He's still in the clutches of his ol_ncestral temper. Won't speak to me. But he'll come round. He's really as muc_o blame as I am for what I've done. You know I've never asked anyone in m_ife if I could do a thing. I just did it. Father never prevented me. At firs_ecause he hated me—then because he wanted to make up for hating me."
  • "I think you'll have to ask Perry sometimes if you can do things."
  • "I won't mind  _that._  You'll be surprised to see what a dutiful wife I'l_ake. Of course I'm going right away—back to work. And in a year's time peopl_ill have forgotten—and Perry and I will be married quietly somewhere. No mor_ose-point veils and Oriental trains and clan weddings for me. Lord, what a_scape! Then minutes later I'd have been married to Teddy. Think what _candal there'd have been then when Aunt Ida arrived. Because I'd have gon_ust the same, you know."