One morning in November of the same year Laura joined her husband at
breakfast, preoccupied and a little grave, her mind full of a subject about which,
she told herself, she could no longer keep from speaking. So soon as an
opportunity presented itself, which was when Jadwin laid down his paper and
drew his coffee-cup towards him, Laura exclaimed:
"Well, old girl?"
"Curtis, dear, ... when is it all going to end--your speculating? You never used to
be this way. It seems as though, nowadays, I never had you to myself. Even
when you are not going over papers and reports and that, or talking by the hour
to Mr. Gretry in the library--even when you are not doing all that, your mind
seems to be away from me--down there in La Salle Street or the Board of Trade
Building. Dearest, you don't know. I don't mean to complain, and I don't want to
be exacting or selfish, but--sometimes I--I am lonesome. Don't interrupt," she
said, hastily. "I want to say it all at once, and then never speak of it again. Last
night, when Mr. Gretry was here, you said, just after dinner, that you would be all
through your talk in an hour. And I waited.... I waited till eleven, and then I went
to bed. Dear I--I--I was lonesome. The evening was so long. I had put on my very
prettiest gown, the one you said you liked so much, and you never seemed to
notice. You told me Mr. Gretry was going by nine, and I had it all planned how we
would spend the evening together."
But she got no further. Her husband had taken her in his arms, and had
interrupted her words with blustering exclamations of self-reproach and self-
condemnation. He was a brute, he cried, a senseless, selfish ass, who had no
right to such a wife, who was not worth a single one of the tears that by now were
trembling on Laura's lashes.
"Now we won't speak of it again," she began. "I suppose I am selfish--"
"Selfish, nothing!" he exclaimed. "Don't talk that way. I'm the one--"
"But," Laura persisted, "some time you will--get out of this speculating for good?
Oh, I do look forward to it so! And, Curtis, what is the use? We're so rich now we
can't spend our money. What do you want to make more for?"
"Oh, it's not the money," he answered. "It's the fun of the thing; the excitement--"
"That's just it, the 'excitement.' You don't know, Curtis. It is changing you. You
are so nervous sometimes, and sometimes you don't listen to me when I talk to