When a Man Marries HTML version
I Face Flannigan
Dinner waited that night while everybody went to the coal cellar and stared at the hole in
the wall, and watched while Max took a tracing of it and of some footprints in the coal
dust on the other side.
I did not go. I went into the library with the guilty watch in the fold of my gown, and
found Mr. Harbison there, staring through the February gloom at the blank wall of the
next house, and quite unconscious of the reporter with a drawing pad just below him in
the area-way. I went over and closed the shutters before his very eyes, but even then he
did not move.
"Will you be good enough to turn around?" I demanded at last.
"Oh!" he said wheeling. "Are YOU here?"
There wasn't any reply to that, so I took the watch and placed it on the library table
between us. The effect was all that I had hoped. He stared at it for an instant, then at me,
and with his hand outstretched for it, stopped.
"Where did you find it?" he asked. I couldn't understand his expression. He looked
embarrassed, but not at all afraid.
"I think you know, Mr. Harbison," I retorted.
"I wish I did. You opened it?"
We stood looking at each other across the table. It was his glance that wavered.
"About the picture--of you," he said at last. "You see, down there in South America, a
fellow hasn't much to do in the evenings, and a--a chum of mine and I--we were awfully
down on what we called the plutocrats, the--the leisure classes. And when that picture of
yours came in the paper, we had--we had an argument. He said--" He stopped.
"What did he say?"
"Well, he said it was the picture of an empty-faced society girl."
"Oh!" I exclaimed.
"I--I maintained there were possibilities in the face." He put both hands on the table, and,
bending forward, looked down at me. "Well, I was a fool, I admit. I said your eyes were
kind and candid, in spite of that haughty mouth. You see, I said I was a fool."
"I think you are exceedingly rude," I managed finally. "If you want to know where I
found your watch, it was down in the coal cellar. And if you admit you are an idiot, I am
not. I--I know all about Bella's bracelet--and the board on the roof, and--oh, if you would
only leave--Anne's necklace--on the coal, or somewhere--and get away--"