Natalie Spencer was finding life full of interest that winter. Now and then she read
the headings in the newspapers, not because she was really interested, but that
she might say, at the dinner-party which was to her the proper end of a perfect
"What do you think of Turkey declaring her independence?"
"I see we have taken the Etoile Wood."
Clayton had overheard her more than once, and had marveled at the dexterity
with which, these leaders thrown out, she was able to avoid committing herself
The new house engrossed her. She was seeing a great deal of Rodney, too, and
now and then she had fancied that there was a different tone in Rodney's voice
when he addressed her. She never analyzed that tone, or what it suggested, but
it gave her a new interest in life. She was always marceled, massaged, freshly
manicured. And she had found a new facial treatment. Clayton, in his room at
night, could hear the sharp slapping of flesh on flesh, as Madeleine gently
pounded certain expensive creams into the skin of her face and neck.
She refused all forms of war activity, although now and then she put some
appeal before Clayton and asked him if he cared to send a check. He never
suggested that she answer any of these demands personally, after an
experience early in the winter.
"Why don't you send it yourself?" he had asked. "Wouldn't you like it to go in your
"It doesn't matter. I don't know any of the committee."
He had tried to explain what he meant.
"You might like to feel that you are doing something."
"I thought my allowance was only to dress on. If I'm to attend to charities, too,
you'll have to increase it."
"But," he argued patiently, "if you only sent them twenty-five dollars, did without
some little thing to do it, you'd feel rather more as though you were giving,
"Twenty-five dollars! And be laughed at!"
He had given in then.
"If I put an extra thousand dollars to your account to-morrow, will you check it out
to this fund?"
"It's too much."
"Yes, of course," she had agreed, indifferently. And he had notified her that the
money was in the bank. But two months later the list of contributors was
published, and neither his name nor Natalie's was among them.
Toward personal service she had no inclination whatever. She would promise
anything, but the hour of fulfilling always found her with something else to do. Yet