A Poor Wise Man HTML version
Lily had an unexpected visitor that afternoon, in the person of Pink Denslow. She
had assumed some of Elinor's cares for the day, for Elinor herself had not been
visible since breakfast. It soothed the girl to attend to small duties, and she was
washing and wiping Elinor's small stock of fine china when the bell rang.
"Mr. Denslow is calling," said Jennie. "I didn't know if you'd see him, so I said I
didn't know if you were in.
Lily's surprise at Pink's visit was increased when she saw him. He was covered
with plaster dust, even to the brim of his hat, and his hands were scratched and
"Pink!" she said. "Why, what is the matter?"
For the first time he was conscious of his appearance, and for the first time in his
life perhaps, entirely indifferent to it.
"I've been digging in the ruins," he said. "Is that man Doyle in the house?"
Her color faded. Suddenly she noticed a certain wildness about Pink's eyes, and
the hard strained look of his mouth.
"What ruins, Pink?" she managed to ask.
"All the ruins," he said. "You know, don't you? The bank, our bank, and the club?"
It seemed to her afterwards that she knew before he told her, saw it all, a
dreadful picture which had somehow superimposed upon it a vision of Jim Doyle
with the morning paper, and the thing that this was not the time for.
"That's all," he finished. "Eleven at the club, two of them my own fellows. In
France, you know. I found one of them myself, this morning." He stared past her,
over her head. "Killed for nothing, the way the Germans terrorized Belgium.
Haven't you seen the papers?"
"No, they wouldn't let you see them, of course. Lily, I want you to leave here. If
you don't, if you stay now, you're one of them, whether you believe what they
preach or not. Don't you see that?"
She was not listening. Her faith was dying hard, and the mental shock had
brought her dizziness and a faint nausea. He stood watching her, and when she