Delight Haverford was to come out in December, but there were times when the
Doctor wondered if she was really as keen about it as she pretended to be. He
found her once or twice, her usually active hands idle in her lap, and a pensive
droop to her humorous young mouth.
"Tired, honey?" he asked, on one of those occasions.
"No. Just talking to myself."
"Say a few nice things for me, while you're about it, then."
"Nice things! I don't deserve them."
"What awful crime have you been committing? Break it to me gently. You know
my weak heart."
"Your tobacco heart!" she said, severely. "Well, I've been committing a mental
murder, if you want to know the facts. Don't protest. It's done. She's quite dead
"Good gracious! And I have reared this young viper! Who is she?"
"I don't intend to make you an accessory, daddy."
But' behind her smile he felt a real hurt. He would have given a great deal to
have taken her in his arms and tried to coax out her trouble so he might comfort
her. But that essential fineness in him which his worldliness only covered like a
veneer told him not to force her confidence. Only, he wandered off rather
disconsolately to hunt his pipe and to try to realize that Delight was now a woman
grown, and liable to woman's heart-aches.
"What do you think it is?" he asked that night, when after her nightly custom Mrs.
Haverford had reached over from the bed beside his and with a single competent
gesture had taken away his book and switched off his reading lamp, and he had,
with the courage of darkness, voiced a certain uneasiness.
"Who do you think it is, you mean." "Very well, only the word is 'whom.'"
Mrs. Haverford ignored this.
"It's that Hayden girl," she said. "Toots. And Graham Spencer."
"Do you think that Delight - " "She always has. For years."
Which was apparently quite clear to them both.
"If it had only been a nice girl," Mrs. Haverford protested, plaintively. "But Toots!
She's fast, I'm sure of it."
"And that boy needs a decent girl, if anybody ever did. A shallow mother, and a
money-making father - all Toots Hay den wants is his money. She's ages older
than he is. I hear he is there every day and all of Sundays."
The rector had precisely as much guile as a turtle dove, and long, after Mrs.
Haverford gave unmistakable evidences of slumber, he lay with his arms above
his head, and plotted. He had no conscience whatever about it. He threw his
scruples to the wind, and if it is possible to follow the twists of a theological mind
turned from the straight and narrow way into the maze of conspiracy, his
thoughts ran something like this: