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When a Man Marries

Suspicion And Discord
Every one was nasty the next morning. Aunt Selina declared that her feet were frost-
bitten and kept Bella rubbing them with ice water all morning. And Jim was impossible.
He refused to speak to any of us and he watched Bella furtively, as if he suspected her of
trying to get him out of the house.
When luncheon time came around and he had shown no indication of going to the
telephone and ordering it, we had a conclave, and Max was chosen to remind him of the
hour. Jim was shut in the studio, and we waited together in the hall while Max went up.
When he came down he was somewhat ruffled.
"He wouldn't open the door, he reported, "and when I told him it was meal time, he said
he wasn't hungry, and he didn't give a whoop about the rest of us. He had asked us here to
dinner; he hadn't proposed to adopt us."
So we finally ordered luncheon ourselves, and about two o'clock Jim came downstairs
sheepishly, and ate what was left. Anne declared that Bella had been scolding him in the
upper hall, but I doubted it. She was never seen to speak to him unnecessarily.
The excitement of the escape over, Mr. Harbison and I remained on terms of armed
neutrality. And Max still hunted for Anne's pearls, using them, the men declared, as a
good excuse to avoid tinkering with the furnace or repairing the dumb waiter, which took
the queerest notions, and stopped once, half-way up from the kitchen, for an hour, with
the dinner on it. Anyhow, Max was searching the house systematically, armed with a
copy of Poe's Purloined Letter and Gaboriau's Monsieur LeCoq. He went through the
seats of the chairs with hatpins, tore up the beds, and lifted rugs, until the house was in a
state of confusion. And the next day, the fourth, he found something--not much, but it
was curious. He had been in the studio, poking around behind the dusty pictures, with
Jimmy expostulating every time he moved anything and the rest standing around
watching him.
Max was strutting.
"We get it by elimination," he said importantly. "The pearls being nowhere else in the
house, they must be here in the studio. Three parts of the studio having yielded nothing,
they must be in the fourth. Ladies and gentlemen, let me have your attention for one
moment. I tap this canvas with my wand--there is nothing up my sleeve. Then I prepare
to move the canvas--so. And I put my hand in the pocket of this disreputable velvet coat,
so. Behold!"
Then he gave a low exclamation and looked at something he held in his hand. Every one
stepped forward, and on his palm was the small diamond clasp from Anne's collar!
Jimmy was apoplectic. He tried to smile, but no one else did.
"Well, I'll be flabbergasted!" he said. "I say, you people, you don't think for a minute that
I put that thing there? Why, I haven't worn that coat for a month. It's--it's a trick of yours,
Max."
 
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