A Poor Wise Man HTML version
And in Louis Akers too she began to discern an inclination not to pull out until
after the election. He was ambitious, and again and again he urged that he would
be more useful for the purpose in her mind if he were elected first.
That issue came to a climax the day she had seen her mother and learned the
terms on which she might return home. She was alarmed by his noisy anger at
"Do sit down, Louis, and be quiet," she said. "You have known their attitude all
along, haven't you?"
"I'll show them," he said, thickly. "Damned snobs!" He glanced at her then
uneasily, and her expression put him on his guard. "I didn't mean that, little girl.
Honestly I didn't. I don't care for myself. It's you."
"You must understand that they think they are acting for my good. And I am not
sure," she added, her clear eyes on him, "that they are not right. You frighten me
But a little later he broke out again. If he wasn't good enough to enter their
house, he'd show them something. The election would show them something.
They couldn't refuse to receive the mayor of the city. She saw then that he was
bent on remaining with Doyle until after the election.
Lily sat back, listening and thinking. Sometimes she thought that he did not love
her at all. He always said he wanted her, but that was different.
"I think you love yourself more than you love me, Louis," she said, when he had
exhausted himself. "I don't believe you know what love is."
That brought him to his knees, his arms around her, kissing her hands, begging
her not to give him up, and once again her curious sense of responsibility for him
"You will marry me soon, dear, won't you?" he implored her. But she thought of
Willy Cameron, oddly enough, even while his arms were around her; of the
difference in the two men. Louis, big, crouching, suppliant and insistent; Willy
Cameron, grave, reserved and steady, taking what she now knew was the blow
of her engagement like a gentleman and a soldier.
They represented, although she did not know it, the two divisions of men in love,
the men who offer much and give little, the others who, out of a deep humility,
offer little and give everything they have.
In the end. nothing was settled. After he had gone Lily, went up to Elinor's room.
She had found in Elinor lately a sort of nervous tension that puzzled her, and that