A Man's Woman HTML version

Chapter X.
The months passed; Christmas came and went. Until then the winter had been
unusually mild, but January set in with a succession of vicious cold snaps and
great blustering winds out of the northeast. Lloyd and Bennett had elected to
remain quietly in their new home at Medford. They had no desire to travel, and
Bennett's forthcoming book demanded his attention. Adler stayed on about the
house. He and the dog Kamiska were companions inseparable. At long intervals
visitors presented themselves—Dr. Street, or Pitts, or certain friends of Bennett's.
But the great rush of interviewers, editors, and projectors of marvellous schemes
that had crowded Bennett's anterooms during the spring and early summer was
conspicuously dwindling. The press ceased to speak of him; even his mail had
fallen away. Now, whenever the journals of the day devoted space to arctic
exploration, it was invariably in reference to the English expedition wintering on
the Greenland coast. That world that had clamoured so loudly upon Bennett's
return, while, perhaps, not yet forgetting him, was already ignoring him, was
looking in other directions. Another man was in the public eye.
But in every sense these two—Lloyd and Bennett—were out of the world. They
had freed themselves from the current of affairs. They stood aside while the great
tide went careering past swift and turbulent, and one of them at least lacked even
the interest to look on and watch its progress.
For a time Lloyd was supremely happy. Their life was unbroken, uneventful. The
calm, monotonous days of undisturbed happiness to which she had looked
forward were come at last. Thus it was always to be. Isolated and apart, she
could shut her ears to the thunder of the world's great tide that somewhere, off
beyond the hills in the direction of the City, went swirling through its channels.
Hardly an hour went by that she and Bennett were not together. Lloyd had
transferred her stable to her new home; Lewis was added to the number of their
servants, and until Bennett's old-time vigour completely returned to him she
drove out almost daily with her husband, covering the country for miles around.
Much of their time, however, they spent in Bennett's study. This was a great
apartment in the rear of the house, scantily, almost meanly, furnished. Papers
littered the floor; bundles of manuscripts, lists, charts, and observations, the worn
and battered tin box of records, note-books, journals, tables of logarithms were
piled upon Bennett's desk. A bookcase crammed with volumes of reference,
statistical pamphlets, and the like stood between the windows, while one of the
walls was nearly entirely occupied by a vast map of the arctic circle, upon which
the course of the Freja, her drift in the pack, and the route of the expedition's
southerly march were accurately plotted.