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When a Man Marries

A Bar Of Soap
Late that evening Betty Mercer and Dallas were writing verses of condolence to be
signed by all of us and put under the door into Jim's room when Bella came running
down the stairs.
Dal was reading the first verse when she came. "Listen to this, Bella," he said
triumphantly:
"There was a fat artist named Jas,
Who cruelly called his friends nas.
When, altho' shut up tight,
He broke out over night
With a rash that is maddening, he clas."
Then he caught sight of Bella's face as she stood in the doorway, and stopped.
"Jim is delirious!" she announced tragically. "You shut him in there all alone and now
he's delirious. I'll never forgive any of you."
"Delirious!" everybody exclaimed.
"He was sane enough when I took him his chicken broth," Mr. Harbison said. "He was
almost fluent."
"He is stark, staring crazy," Bella insisted hysterically. "I--I locked the door carefully
when I went down to my dinner, and when I came up it--it was unlocked, and Jim was
babbling on the bed, with a sheet over his face. He--he says the house is haunted and he
wants all the men to come up and sit in the room with him."
"Not on your life," Max said. "I am young, and my career has only begun. I don't intend
to be cut off in the flower of my youth. But I'll tell you what I will do; I'll take him a
drink. I can tie it to a pole or something."
But Mr. Harbison did not smile. He was thoughtful for a minute. Then:
"I don't believe he is delirious," he said quietly, "and I wouldn't be surprised if he has
happened on something that--will be of general interest. I think I will stay with him
tonight."
After that, of course, none of the others would confess that he was afraid, so with the
South American leading, they all went upstairs. The women of the party sat on the lower
steps and listened, but everything was quiet. Now and then we could hear the sound of
voices, and after a while there was a rapid slamming of doors and the sound of some one
running down to the second floor. Then quiet again.
None of us felt talkative. Bella had followed the men up and had been put out, and sat
sniffling by herself in the den. Aunt Selina was working over a jig-saw puzzle in the
library, and declaring that some of it must be lost. Anne and Leila Mercer were
embroidering, and Betty and I sat idle, our hands in our laps. The whole atmosphere of
 
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