A Poor Wise Man
For three weeks Lily did not see Louis Akers, nor did she go back to the house
on Cardew Way. She hated doing clandestine or forbidden things, and she was,
too, determined to add nothing to the tenseness she began to realize existed at
home. She went through her days, struggling to fit herself again into the old
environment, reading to her mother, lending herself with assumed enthusiasm to
such small gayeties as Lent permitted, and doing penance in a dozen ways for
that stolen afternoon with Louis Akers.
She had been forbidden to see him again. It had come about by Grace's
confession to Howard as to Lily's visit to the Doyles. He had not objected to that.
"Unless Doyle talks his rubbish to her," he said. "She said something the other
night that didn't sound like her. Was any one else there?"
"An attorney named Akers," she said.
And at that Howard had scowled.
"She'd better keep away altogether," he observed, curtly. "She oughtn't to meet
men like that."
"Shall I tell her?"
"I'll tell her," he said. And tell her he did, not too tactfully, and man-like shielding
her by not telling her his reasons.
"He's not the sort of man I want you to know," he finished. "That ought to be
sufficient. Have you seen him since?"
Lily flushed, but she did not like to lie.
"I had tea with him one afternoon. I often have tea with men, father. You know
"You knew I wouldn't approve, or you would have mentioned it."
Because he felt that he had been rather ruthless with her, he stopped in at the
jeweler's the next morning and sent her a tiny jeweled watch. Lily was touched
and repentant. She made up her mind not to see Louis Akers again, and found a
certain relief in the decision. She was conscious that he had a peculiar attraction
for her, a purely emotional appeal. He made her feel alive. Even when she