A Poor Wise Man
"Well, grandfather," said Lily Cardew, "the last of the Cardews is home from the
"So I presume," observed old Anthony. "Owing, however, to your mother's
determination to shroud this room in impenetrable gloom, I can only presume. I
cannot see you."
His tone was less unpleasant than his words, however. He was in one of the rare
moods of what passed with him for geniality. For one thing, he had won at the
club that afternoon, where every day from four to six he played bridge with his
own little group, reactionaries like himself, men who viewed the difficulties of the
younger employers of labor with amused contempt. For another, he and Howard
had had a difference of opinion, and he had, for a wonder, made Howard angry.
"Well, Lily," he inquired, "how does it seem to be at home?"
Lily eyed him almost warily. He was sometimes most dangerous in these moods.
"I'm not sure, grandfather."
"Not sure about what?"
"Well, I am glad to see everybody, of course. But what am I to do with myself?"
"Tut." He had an air of benignantly forgiving her. "You'll find plenty. What did you
do before you went away?"
"That was different, grandfather."
"I'm blessed," said old Anthony, truculently, "if I understand what has come over
this country, anyhow. What is different? We've had a war. We've had other wars,
and we didn't think it necessary to change the Constitution after them. But
everything that was right before this war is wrong after it. Lot of young idiots
coming back and refusing to settle down. Set of young Bolshevists!"
He had always managed to arouse a controversial spirit in the girl.
"Maybe, if it isn't right now, it wasn't right before." Having said it, Lily immediately
believed it. She felt suddenly fired with an intense dislike of anything that her