A Poor Wise Man HTML version

Chapter 44
Elinor Doyle was up and about her room. She walked slowly and with difficulty,
using crutches, and she spent most of the time at her window, watching and
waiting. From Lily there came, at frequent intervals, notes, flowers and small
delicacies. The flowers and food Olga brought to her, but the notes she never
saw. She knew they came. She could see the car stop at the curb, and the
chauffeur, his shoulders squared and his face watchful, carrying a white
envelope up the walk, but there it ended.
She felt more helpless than ever. The doctor came less often, but the vigilance
was never relaxed, and she had, too, less and less hope of being able to give
any warning. Doyle was seldom at home, and when he was he had ceased to
give her his taunting information. She was quite sure now of his relations with the
Russian girl, and her uncertainty as to her course was gone. She was no longer
his wife. He held another woman in his rare embraces, a traitor like himself. It
was sordid. He was sordid.
Woslosky had developed blood poisoning, and was at the point of death, with a
stolid policeman on guard at his bedside. She knew that from the newspapers
she occasionally saw. And she connected Doyle unerringly with the tragedy at
the farm behind Friendship. She recognized, too, since that failure, a change in
his manner to her. She saw that he now both hated her and feared her, and that
she had become only a burden and a menace to him. He might decide to do
away with her, to kill her. He would not do it himself; he never did his own dirty
work, but the Russian girl - Olga was in love with Jim Doyle. Elinor knew that, as
she knew many things, by a sort of intuition. She watched them in the room
together, and she knew that to Doyle the girl was an incident, the vehicle of his
occasional passion, a strumpet and a tool. He did not even like her; she saw him
looking at her sometimes with a sort of amused contempt. But Olga's somber
eyes followed him as he moved, lit with passion and sometimes with anger, but
always they followed him.
She was afraid of Olga. She did not care particularly about death, but it must not
come before she had learned enough to be able to send out a warning. She
thought if it came it might be by poison in the food that was sent up, but she had
to eat to live. She took to eating only one thing on her tray, and she thought she
detected in the girl an understanding and a veiled derision.
By Doyle's increasing sullenness she knew things were not going well with him,
and she found a certain courage in that, but she knew him too well to believe that
he would give up easily. And she drew certain deductions from the newspapers
she studied so tirelessly. She saw the announcement of the unusual number of
hunting licenses issued, for one thing, and she knew the cover that such licenses