A Poor Wise Man HTML version
The surface peace of the house on Cardew Way, the even tenor of her days
there, the feeling she had of sanctuary did not offset Lily's clear knowledge that
she had done a cruel and an impulsive thing. Even her grandfather, whose anger
had driven her away, she remembered now as a feeble old man, fighting his
losing battle in a changing world, and yet with a sort of mistaken heroism hoisting
his colors to the end.
She had determined, that first night in Elinor's immaculate guest room, to go back
the next day. They had been right at home, by all the tenets to which they
adhered so religiously. She had broken the unwritten law not to break bread with
an enemy of her house. She had done what they had expressly forbidden, done
it over and over.
"On top of all this," old Anthony had said, after reading the tale of her
delinquencies from some notes in his hand, "you dined last night openly at the
Saint Elmo Hotel with this same Louis Akers, a man openly my enemy, and
openly of impure life."
"I do not believe he is your enemy."
"He is one of the band of anarchists who have repeatedly threatened to kill me."
"Oh, Lily, Lily!" said her mother.
But it was to her father, standing grave and still, that Lily replied.
"I don't believe that, father. He is not a murderer. If you would let him come here -
"Never in this house," said old Anthony, savagely crushing notes in his hand. "He
will come here over my dead body."
"You have no right to condemn a man unheard."
"Unheard! I tell you I know all about him. The man is an anarchist, a rake, a -
"Just a moment, father," Howard had put in, quietly. "Lily, do you care for this
man? I mean by that, do you want to marry him?"