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A Poor Wise Man

Perhaps she knew, sub-consciously, that Louis Akers was not. All her exaltation
was gone, and in its stead was a sort of dogged determination to see the thing
through now, at any cost; to re-make Louis into the man he could be, to build her
own house of life, and having built it, to live in it as best she could.
"That is a condition I cannot fulfill, mother. I am engaged to him."
"Then you love him more than you do any of us, or all of us."
"I don't know. It is different," she said vaguely.
She kissed her mother very tenderly when she went away, but there was a
feeling of finality in them both. Mademoiselle, waiting at the top of the stairs,
heard the door close and could not believe her ears. Grace went upstairs, her
face a blank before the servants, and shut herself in her room. And in Lily's
boudoir the roses spread a heavy, funereal sweetness over the empty room.
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