A Poor Wise Man
"I daresay I shall have to go, if you send me. I don't want to go.
"Very well. I am glad we have had this little talk. It makes my own course quite
He opened the door for her and she went out and down the stairs. She felt very
calm, and as though something irrevocable had happened. With her anger at her
grandfather there was mixed a sort of pity for him, because she knew that
nothing he could do would change the fundamental situation. Even if he locked
her up, and that was possible, he would know that he had not really changed
things, or her. She felt surprisingly strong. All these years that she had feared
him, and yet when it came to a direct issue, he was helpless! What had he but
his wicked tongue, and what did that matter to deaf ears?
She found her maid gone, and Mademoiselle waiting to help her undress.
Mademoiselle often did that. It made her feel still essential in Lily's life.
"A long seance!" she said. "Your mother told me to-night. It is Newport?"
"He wants me to go. Unhook me, Mademoiselle, and then run off and go to bed.
You ought not to wait up like this."
"Newport!" said Mademoiselle, deftly slipping off the white and silver that was
Lily's gown. "It will be wonderful, dear. And you will be a great success. You are
"I am not going to Newport, Mademoiselle."
Mademoiselle broke into rapid expostulation, in French. Every girl wanted to
make her debut at Newport. Here it was all industry, money, dirt. Men who slaved
in offices daily. At Newport was gathered the real leisure class of America, those
who knew how to play, who lived. But Lily, taking off her birthday pearls before
the mirror of her dressing table, only shook her head.
"I'm not going," she said. "I might as well tell you, for you'll hear about it later. I
have quarreled with him, very badly. I think he intends to lock me up."
"C'est impossible!" cried Mademoiselle.
But a glance at Lily's set face in the mirror told her it was true.
She went away very soon, sadly troubled. There were bad times coming. The old
peaceful quiet days were gone, for age and obstinacy had met youth and the
arrogance of youth, and it was to be battle.