A Poor Wise Man
"What's got into you lately, Edith?" he inquired, lowering his voice. "You used to
be the best little pal ever. Now the other day, when I called up - "
"Had the headache," she said laconically. "Well?"
"Want to play around this evening?"
She hesitated. Then she remembered where Willy Cameron would be that night,
and her face hardened. Had any one told Edith that she was beginning to care
for the lame young man in the rear room, with his exaggerated chivalry toward
women, his belief in home, and his sentimental whistling, she would have
laughed. But he gave her something that the other men she knew robbed her of,
a sort of self-respect. It was perhaps not so much that she cared for him, as that
he enabled her to care more for herself.
But he was going to dinner with Lily Cardew.
"I might, depending on what you've got to offer."
"I've got a car now, Edith. I'm not joking. There was a lot of outside work, and the
organization came over. I've been after it for six months. We can have a ride, and
supper somewhere. How's the young man with the wooden leg?"
"If you want to know I'll call him out and let him tell you."
"Quick, aren't you?" He smiled down at where she stood, firmly entrenched
behind a show case. "Well, don't fall in love with him. That's all. I'm a bad man
when I'm jealous."
He sauntered out, leaving Edith gazing thoughtfully after him. He did not know,
nor would have cared had he known, that her acceptance of his invitation was a
complex of disgust of home, of the call of youth, and of the fact that Willy
Cameron was dining at the Cardews that night.