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A Poor Wise Man

Chapter 29
In one way Howard had been correct in his surmise. It had been Lily's idea to go
to a hotel until she had made some definite plan. She would telephone Louis
then, and the rest - she did not think beyond that. She called a taxi and took a
small bag with her, but in the taxicab she suddenly realized that she could not go
to any of the hotels she knew. She would be recognized at once.
She wanted a little time to herself, time to think. And before it was discovered
that she had left Cardew Way she must see Louis, and judge again if he intended
to act in good faith. While he was with her, reiterating his promises, she believed
him, but when he was gone, she always felt, a curious doubt.
She thought then of finding a quiet room somewhere, and stopping the cab,
bought a newspaper. It was when she was searching for the "rooms for rent"
column that she saw he had been attacked and slightly injured.
They had got him. He had said that if they ever suspected him of playing them
false they would get him, and now they had done so. That removed the last
doubt of his good faith from her mind. She felt indignation and dismay, and a sort
of aching consciousness that always she brought only trouble to the people who
cared for her; she felt that she was going through her life, leaving only
unhappiness behind her.
He had suffered, and for her.
She told the chauffeur to go to the Benedict Apartments, and sitting back read
the notice again. He had been attacked by two masked men and badly bruised,
after putting up a terrific resistance. They would wear masks, of course. They
loved the theatrical. Their very flag was theatrical. And he had made a hard fight
That was like him, too; he was a fighter.
She was a Cardew, and she loved strength. There were other men, men like
Willy Cameron, for instance, who were lovable in many ways, but they were not
fighters. They sat back, and let life beat them, and they took the hurt bravely and
stoically. But they never got life by the throat and shook it until it gave up what
they wanted.
She had never been in a bachelors' apartment house before, and she was both
frightened and self-conscious. The girl at the desk eyed her curiously while she
telephoned her message, and watched her as she moved toward the elevator.
"Ever seen her before?" she said to the hall boy.