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The plan devised by our hostess, Mrs. Davenport, that a story should be told by one of us
each evening, had met with courtesy, but not I with immediate enthusiasm. But Mrs.
Davenport had chosen her guests with her usual wisdom, and after the first experiment,
story telling proved so successful that none of us would have readily abandoned it. When
the time had come for Richard Field to entertain the company with the promised tale
from his life experience, his hope of escaping this ordeal had altogether vanished.
Mrs. Field, it had been noticed as early as breakfast time, was inclined to be nervous on
her husband's account. Five years of married life had not cured her of this amiable
symptom, and she made but a light meal. He, on the other hand, ate heartily and without
signs of disturbance. Apparently he was not even conscious of the glances that his wife so
frequently stole at him.
"Do at least have some omelet, my dear," whispered Mrs. Davenport urgently. "It's quite
But Mrs. Field could summon no appetite.
"I see you are anxious about him," Mrs. Davenport continued after breakfast. "You are
surely not afraid his story will fail to interest us?"
"No, it is not that."
"It can't be that he has given up the one he expected to tell us and can think of no other?"
"Oh, no; he is going to tell that one."
"And you don't like his choice?"
"He won't tell me what it is!" Mrs. Davenport put down her embroidery. "Then, Ethel,"
she laid with severity, "the fault is yours. When I had been five years married, Mr.
Davenport confided everything to me."
"So does Richard. Except when I particularly ask him."
"There it is, Ethel. You let him see that you want to know."
"But I do want to know. Richard has had such interesting experiences, so many of them.
And I do so want him to tell a thoroughly nice one. There's the one when he saved a man
from drowning just below our house, the second summer, and the man turned out to be a
burglar and broke into the pantry that very night, and Richard caught him in the dark with
just as much courage as he had caught him in the water and just as few clothes, only it
was so different. Richard makes it quite thrilling. And I mentioned another to him. But he
just went on shaving. And now he has gone out walking, and I believe it's going to be
something I would rather not hear. But I mean to hear it."