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A Poor Wise Man

disapproved of him, she was conscious of him. She put him resolutely out of her
mind, to have him reappear in her dreams, not as a lover, but as some one
dominant and insistent, commanding her to do absurd, inconsequential things.
Now and then she saw Willy Cameron, and they had gone back, apparently, to
the old friendly relationship. They walked together, and once they went to the
moving pictures, to Grace's horror. But there were no peanuts to eat, and instead
of the jingling camp piano there was an orchestra, and it was all strangely
different. Even Willy Cameron was different. He was very silent, and on the way
home he did not once speak of the plain people.
Louis Akers had both written and telephoned her, but she made excuses, and did
not see him, and the last time he had hung up the receiver abruptly. She felt an
odd mixture of relief and regret.
Then, about the middle of April, she saw him again.
Spring was well on by that time. Before the Doyle house on Cardew Way the two
horse-chestnuts were showing great red-brown buds, ready to fall into leaf with
the first warm day, and Elinor, assisted by Jennie, the elderly maid, was finishing
her spring house-cleaning. The Cardew mansion showed window-boxes at each
window, filled by the florist with spring flowers, to be replaced later by summer
ones. A potted primrose sat behind the plate glass of the Eagle Pharmacy,
among packets of flower seeds and spring tonics, its leaves occasionally nibbled
by the pharmacy cat, out of some atavistic craving survived through long
generations of city streets.
The children's playground near the Lily furnace was ready; Howard Cardew
himself had overseen the locations of the swings and chute-the-chutes. And at
Friendship an army of workers was sprinkling and tamping the turf of the polo
field. After two years of war, there was to be polo again that spring and early
summer. The Cherry Hill Hunt team was still intact, although some of the visiting
outfits had been badly shot to pieces by the war. But the war was over. It lay
behind, a nightmare to be forgotten as soon as possible. It had left its train of
misery and debt, but - spring had come.
On a pleasant Monday, Lily motored out to the field with Pink Denslow. It had
touched her that he still wanted her, and it had offered an escape from her own
worries. She was fighting a sense of failure that day. It seemed impossible to
reconcile the warring elements at home. Old Anthony and his son were
quarreling over the strike, and Anthony was jibing constantly at Howard over the
playground. It was not so much her grandfather's irritability that depressed her as
his tyranny over the household, and his attitude toward her mother roused her to
bitter resentment.
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