In the Ormsby household father and daughter sat in the darkness on the
veranda. After Laura Ormsby's encounter with McGregor there had been another
talk between her and David. Now she had gone on a visit to her home-town in
Wisconsin and father and daughter sat together.
To his wife David had talked pointedly of Margaret's affair. "It is not a matter of
good sense," he had said; "one can not pretend there is a prospect of happiness
in such an affair. The man is no fool and may some day be a big man but it will
not be the kind of bigness that will bring either happiness or contentment to a
woman like Margaret. He may end his life in jail."
* * * * *
McGregor and Edith walked up the gravel walk and stood by the front door of the
Ormsby house. From the darkness on the veranda came the hearty voice of
David. "Come and sit out here," he said.
McGregor stood silently waiting. Edith clung to his arm. Margaret got up and
coming forward stood looking at them. With a jump at her heart she sensed the
crisis suggested by the presence of these two people. Her voice trembled with
alarm. "Come in," she said, turning and leading the way into the house.
The man and woman followed Margaret. At the door McGregor stopped and
called to David. "We want you in here with us," he said harshly.
In the drawing room the four people waited. The great chandelier threw its light
down upon them. In her chair Edith sat and looked at the floor.
"I've made a mistake," said McGregor. "I've been going on and on making a
mistake." He turned to Margaret. "We didn't count on something here. There is
Edith. She isn't what we thought."
Edith said nothing. The weary stoop stayed in her shoulders. She felt that if
McGregor had brought her to the house and to this woman he loved to seal their
parting she would sit quietly until that was over and then go on to the loneliness
she believed must be her portion.
To Margaret the coming of the man and woman was a portent of evil. She also
was silent, expecting a shock. When her lover spoke she also looked at the floor.
To herself she was saying, "He is going to take himself away and marry this other
woman. I must be prepared to hear him say that." In the doorway stood David.