A Poor Wise Man HTML version

Chapter 17
But there was a truce for a time. Lily came and went without interference, and
without comment. Nothing more was said about Newport. She motored on bright
days to the country club, lunched and played golf or tennis, rode along the
country lanes with Pink Denslow, accepted such invitations as came her way
cheerfully enough but without enthusiasm, and was very gentle to her mother.
But Mademoiselle found her tense and restless, as though she were waiting.
And there were times when she disappeared for an hour or two in the afternoons,
proffering no excuses, and came back flushed, and perhaps a little frightened.
On the evenings that followed those small excursions she was particularly gentle
to her mother. Mademoiselle watched and waited for the blow she feared was
about to fall. She felt sure that the girl was seeing Louis Akers, and that she
would ultimately marry him. In her despair she fell back on Willy Cameron and
persuaded Grace to invite him to dinner. It was meant to be a surprise for Lily,
but she had telephoned at seven o'clock that she was dining at the Doyles'.
It was that evening that Willy Cameron learned that Mr. Hendricks had been right
about Lily. He and Grace dined alone, for Howard was away at a political
conference, and Anthony had dined at his club. And in the morning room after
dinner Grace found herself giving him her confidence.
"I have no right to burden you with our troubles, Mr. Cameron," Grace said, "but
she is so fond of you, and she has great respect for your judgment. If you could
only talk to her about the anxiety she is causing. These Doyles, or rather Mr.
Doyle - the wife is Mr. Cardew's sister - are putting all sorts of ideas into her
head. And she has met a man there, a Mr. Akers, and - I'm afraid she thinks she
is in love with him, Mr. Cameron."
He met her eyes gravely.
"Have you tried not forbidding her to go to the Doyles?"
"I have forbidden her nothing. It is her grandfather."
"Then it seems to be Mr. Cardew who needs to be talked to, doesn't it?" he said.
"I wouldn't worry too much, Mrs. Cardew. And don't hold too tight a rein.
He was very down-hearted when he left. Grace's last words placed a heavy
burden on him.