Without even waiting for an answer from her husband regarding his opinion o_ishes in the matter, Edna hastened her preparations for quitting her home o_splanade Street and moving into the little house around the block. A feveris_nxiety attended her every action in that direction. There was no moment o_eliberation, no interval of repose between the thought and its fulfillment.
Early upon the morning following those hours passed in Arobin's society, Edn_et about securing her new abode and hurrying her arrangements for occupyin_t. Within the precincts of her home she felt like one who has entered an_ingered within the portals of some forbidden temple in which a thousan_uffled voices bade her begone.
Whatever was her own in the house, everything which she had acquired asid_rom her husband's bounty, she caused to be transported to the other house,
supplying simple and meager deficiencies from her own resources.
Arobin found her with rolled sleeves, working in company with the house-mai_hen he looked in during the afternoon. She was splendid and robust, and ha_ever appeared handsomer than in the old blue gown, with a red sil_andkerchief knotted at random around her head to protect her hair from th_ust. She was mounted upon a high stepladder, unhooking a picture from th_all when he entered. He had found the front door open, and had followed hi_ing by walking in unceremoniously.
"Come down!" he said. "Do you want to kill yourself?" She greeted him wit_ffected carelessness, and appeared absorbed in her occupation.
If he had expected to find her languishing, reproachful, or indulging i_entimental tears, he must have been greatly surprised.
He was no doubt prepared for any emergency, ready for any one of the foregoin_ttitudes, just as he bent himself easily and naturally to the situation whic_onfronted him.
"Please come down," he insisted, holding the ladder and looking up at her.
"No," she answered; "Ellen is afraid to mount the ladder. Joe is working ove_t the `pigeon house'—that's the name Ellen gives it, because it's so smal_nd looks like a pigeon house—and some one has to do this."
Arobin pulled off his coat, and expressed himself ready and willing to temp_ate in her place. Ellen brought him one of her dust-caps, and went int_ontortions of mirth, which she found it impossible to control, when she sa_im put it on before the mirror as grotesquely as he could. Edna herself coul_ot refrain from smiling when she fastened it at his request. So it was he wh_n turn mounted the ladder, unhooking pictures and curtains, and dislodgin_rnaments as Edna directed. When he had finished he took off his dust-cap an_ent out to wash his hands.
Edna was sitting on the tabouret, idly brushing the tips of a feather duste_long the carpet when he came in again.
"Is there anything more you will let me do?" he asked.
"That is all," she answered. "Ellen can manage the rest." She kept the youn_oman occupied in the drawing-room, unwilling to be left alone with Arobin.
"What about the dinner?" he asked; "the grand event, the coup d'etat?"
"It will be day after to-morrow. Why do you call it the `coup d'etat?' Oh! i_ill be very fine; all my best of everything—crystal, silver and gold, Sevres,
flowers, music, and champagne to swim in. I'll let Leonce pay the bills. _onder what he'll say when he sees the bills.
"And you ask me why I call it a coup d'etat?" Arobin had put on his coat, an_e stood before her and asked if his cravat was plumb. She told him it was,
looking no higher than the tip of his collar.
"When do you go to the `pigeon house?'—with all due acknowledgment to Ellen."
"Day after to-morrow, after the dinner. I shall sleep there."
"Ellen, will you very kindly get me a glass of water?" asked Arobin. "The dus_n the curtains, if you will pardon me for hinting such a thing, has parche_y throat to a crisp."
"While Ellen gets the water," said Edna, rising, "I will say good-by and le_ou go. I must get rid of this grime, and I have a million things to do an_hink of."
"When shall I see you?" asked Arobin, seeking to detain her, the maid havin_eft the room.
"At the dinner, of course. You are invited."
"Not before?—not to-night or to-morrow morning or tomorrow noon or night? o_he day after morning or noon? Can't you see yourself, without my telling you,
what an eternity it is?"
He had followed her into the hall and to the foot of the stairway, looking u_t her as she mounted with her face half turned to him.
"Not an instant sooner," she said. But she laughed and looked at him with eye_hat at once gave him courage to wait and made it torture to wait.