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,
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."
"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?"
"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."