A Poor Wise Man
At midnight Howard Cardew reached home again, a tired and broken man. Grace
had been lying awake in her bedroom, puzzled by his unexplained absence, and
brooding, as she now did continually, over Lily's absence.
At half past eleven she heard Anthony Cardew come in and go upstairs, and for
some time after that she heard him steadily pacing back and forth overhead.
Sometimes Grace felt sorry for Anthony. He had made himself at such cost, and
now when he was old, he had everything and yet nothing.
They had never understood women, these Cardews. Howard was gentle with
them where Anthony was hard, but he did not understand, either. She herself, of
other blood, got along by making few demands, but the Cardew women were as
insistent in their demands as the men. Elinor, Lily - She formed a sudden
resolution, and getting up, dressed feverishly. She had no plan in her mind,
nothing but a desperate resolution to put Lily's case before her grandfather, and
to beg that she be brought home without conditions.
She was frightened as she went up the stairs. Never before had she permitted
things to come to an issue between herself and Anthony. But now it must be
done. She knocked at the door.
Anthony Cardew opened it. The room was dark, save for one lamp burning dimly
on a great mahogany table, and Anthony's erect figure was little more than a blur
of black and white.
"I heard you walking about," she said breathlessly. "May I come in and talk to
"Come in," he said, with a sort of grave heaviness. "Shall I light the other lamps?"
"Will you sit down? No? Do you mind if I do? I am very tired. I suppose it is about
"Yes. I can't stand it any longer. I can't."
Sitting under the lamp she saw that he looked very old and very weary. A tired
little old man, almost a broken one.
"She won't come back?"