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attractively. Besides, no doubt they occupation, is n't it? And it gives ought to have managed better. Help- one another string to one's bow. You lessness in an adult shows a muddled ought to hurry up and get a few of mind.”
your own, you know, Joy." Joy was n't quite sure what Julia Joy shook her head. meant. Julia had always been so “Maude thinks,” she observed, “that wonderfully clever and witty that every I'm not a marrying woman.” one admired her, even in London. It “That 's rather neat of Maude," was rumored that a duke had proposed said Julia, "after she 's nipped off to Julia, and it was always a miracle with your man." to Joy why Julia should allow her to "Oh, but he was n't-you must n't," be her friend. But perhaps when Joy cried out suddenly. "If he had you 're very clever and witty you still been, Maude would never have looked like to be loved, and Joy knew that at him, and I–I would never have let nobody except Owen could love Julia him go." with so deep and unchanging a love Julia looked at her thoughtfully for as hers.
a moment, then she said: “I'm rather “Why must Owen have a secretary a brute, I know, but I had to say that. in the house?” Joy asked suddenly. I won't bother you any more about “He never did before. I thought poor old Nick. I've asked you here, secretaries were generally in offices in my dear, to take over my household. London."
I shall be laid up for three months. Julia's eyes grew a little fixed for a You must take care of Owen for me moment before she answered, then and keep the little what-you-mayshe said:
call-'em in her place. She 's quite "Owen 's been so nice about not inconsiderable, really, but I should leaving me since my accident. He had never forgive myself if-I mean, you to go to town yesterday for the first must have all your wits about you, time, but he 'll be back to-morrow. Joy. You're the best child in the He 's done his work here instead. I world, but tell me frankly, have you miss him absurdly even for a day. any wits?" It's a pity I don't go in more for ador- Joy considered the question seriing my babies, as you do. It 's an ously.
"Everything about Joy reminded Owen of the country"
“How do you mean, wits?" she and then she said in a much softer asked. “I can run a house-I have voice: for mother when she's been away- “I remember how much you used to and I can manage servants. Is that love me, Joy; but since my marriage what you meant?''
do you think I have been altogether “No,” said Julia, still watching her the same?" carefully, "not altogether servants." “
"I don't know that you have," said "If you mean Miss Mullory," said Joy, frankly. "You 've had so many Joy, "I was a little afraid of her just at other things to think about, have n't
a first; but I think I sh'an't be. Poor you? But, Julia, I have n't had the thing, she has n't any manners, has other things; I 've always been the she? So one has to be rather afraid same.” for her. She might so easily make Julia had stopped smiling now; she quite bad mistakes."
looked very grave. Joy wondered if, “She might,” said Julia, with a after all, she was n't in physical pain. queer little smile, “and I can't say I She knew so well the pinched look of should be inconsolable if she did. acute suffering, and for a moment, But men, my dear—have you thought only for a moment, she saw it in very much about how to manage men? Julia's face. Then Julia said as I suppose they are n't all blind in serenely as usual: Lynton, are they? Or did Nick scare "No, I don't think you have changed. them away?”
That 's why I sent for you, but I 'm “I don't think I have thought par- not at all sure it was fair. You may ticularly," Joy confessed. “You see, find it a difficult situation." at home men are n't just men; they 're Joy did n't say anything to this, people one 's known awfully well all because Mrs. Featherstone had one's life. The men here won't be so brought her up to believe that people very different, will they? And I shall were meant to face difficult situations. have Owen to help me. I don't find Joy thought that the best way to do Owen a bit difficult to talk to; he 's was to wait until it came, and then always been so kind to me. I think not to think too much about the diffihe must know how much I love you, culties. There was generally some Julia."
situation left, and you could put the Julia said nothing for a moment, difficulties aside and work on that.
Besides, even if Julia was up-stairs, front of the long French windows. Owen would be there to help her. Owen imagined her feelings with
amusement. She would be standing XI
looking out at them, her bad, small It was an immense relief to Owen temper roused, like that of a dismayed that Joy did not know. He saw in kitten hunching up its back. His her confident, innocent eyes nothing amusement ceased as he thought of but her friendliness. It was a perfect the other woman up-stairs, who would evening, still and warm, as if the last never again give him the satisfaction retreat of summer had found a mo- of her emotions. She lay there with mentary security. The late leaves her impassive, frosty beauty utterly hung brittle and expectant against beyond his reach. the pressure of the air.
Joy was talking of Julia now, with Owen found Joy on the terrace. deep praise of her in her voice, countShe was hatless, and he noticed with ing serenely upon the coöperation of delight the way her hair grew low on her listener. the nape of her neck. Her curls were
“I think Julia is the bravest woman the color of buttercups, little wisps in the world," Joy said with convicand tendrils as soft as silk and like tion. the crook of a baby's finger pressed “I am very sure of it," agreed Owen, against her white and flawless skin. with a laugh. "For sheer stand-up, Everything about Joy reminded Owen knock-you-down courage she has n't of the country-her sweetness, her an equal. She does n't understand simplicity, the unarranged and sudden fear. But do you know, Joy, I think way in which she caught his heart it is easier for other people if you do."
. with her beauty. It was strange that Joy hesitated to admit that Julia Julia should have overlooked so ter- had any quality which would make rible a weapon. He felt extraordi- difficulties for other people, but she narily revived and comforted as he saw what Owen meant. walked to and fro listening to Joy's “Only in a way,” she protested; “it gay stories of the twins, the wonderful much more braces you into being things they performed so easily now, brave yourself. You could n't let her and the even more wonderful mean- down." ings she and nurse attached to their "But if you were down," Owen perperformances.
sisted, "she could n't let you up. What had happened while Joy was D' you see what I mean? She has n't away seemed like some melodramatic got any margin of mercy for other and bad-tempered dream, although people's funk." it was not quite a dream. He re- Joy laughed her happy, easy laughminded himself, with an esthetic sense
ter. She did not know how many of the pleasure of contrast, that be- occasions life gives for courage, nor hind him in the house there were two how ominous is the failure of human other women who had taken part in beings to meet them. his dream and known it for reality. "Well,” she said, "you need n't Nina Mullory was in the library, and worry much about courage, need you?" could see them as they passed in
The French windows swung open impatiently, and Nina Mullory joined "He is n't up to any game," she said them. Owen glanced from one woman a little indignantly; "naturally he to the other; but as his eyes rested on wishes to spend all his spare time with each in turn, he thought that he was Julia.” Miss Mullory stared at her. looking from a woman to a child. He There was something in the quality of was struck with Joy's light-hearted, her stare that abruptly changed under untarnished youth; and yet Nina Mul- the answering bewildered glance of lory was as young.
Joy. It was as if Nina had meant to "You might have told me," said be insolent and suddenly felt a twinge Nina, crossly, “that you were coming of compassion. If Joy was really
“ out here. It 's beastly being cooped bewildered, there was nothing to be up in the house all by oneself."
insolent about. “My dear girl," said Owen, “the “You know Mrs. Ransome awfully world is free, and this garden very well, don't you?" asked Nina, curiparticularly at your service."
ously. "Really, awfully well?” He was very nice to Nina, Joy "Of course I do,” said Joy; "she is thought. She did not realize that my best friend.” good humor is often the easiest way of "Well, it's odd," said Miss Mullory, evading a difficulty. Owen was al- dispassionately. “Why do you think ways nice. He sank into niceness as she fell off the roof of the house?” if it were a cushion and he had rather Joy drew in her breath suddenly at a weak back.
this question and looked up at the roof. “I thought,” said Nina, aggres
"Why?" she repeated hesitatingly. sively, turning to Joy, "that you Surely Nina knew the story of the always sat with Mrs. Ransome at this accident?
The light had begun to wane. The "Nina, Nina," Owen murmured house looked startingly big and blank, softly. Aloud he said: “You don't and the roof a very long way off. Joy grasp Miss Featherstone's tact. She was struck as she had been on her expected me to go up to my wife, and first arrival with its blankness. It did n't wish to forestall me; she was was a house that looked as if it had perfectly right. I 'll leave you to never had, and would never have, any enjoy this jolly bit of summer to- history. gether."
“She went up there,” Joy continued Nina tossed her head, and said obediently, "to see if one of the pipes something about his being dreadfully was n't blocked, and she slipped on a tiresome; but she could n't keep him. dead leaf and fell.” She had been tiresome herself, and Nina said nothing for a moment. Owen never stayed with women who Her eyes, too, ran over the massive, became tiresome.
slanting roof, but without specula"He can't be going up to her," tion. Nina exclaimed as Owen disappeared "She fell all right," she said a little into the house. She spoke as if the dryly, "and God knows why she did n't idea positively shocked her. "I can't break her neck instead of her leg. She think what game he's up to."
came down there by the bushes under Joy looked at her in astonishment. the library window. I suppose they
must have eased her fall. Nobody of all she had ever heard about accisaw her, you know, or heard her; she dents and the effect of falls, and she did n't cry out. A gardener found tried not to think how curious it was her lying in a little heap ages after it that Nina did n't seem to care. She must have happened."
was trying to make some impression Joy shuddered. It was the first upon Joy, but not that of sympathy. time she had heard the details of “If you were to go up there now," Julia's accident. Some instinct in her, Nina pursued after a long pause, “I profound and compulsory, had stopped bet you anything you like you 'd not her asking questions.
find Owen there." "And Owen?” she breathed as Nina Joy turned on her in a flash of anger. paused.
“What do you mean?” she asked. "The gardener shouted," Nina went “What are you trying to make me beon, unmoved. “We were sitting in lieve? That Mr. Ransome does n't the library. I suppose the shutters love his wife? It 's nonsense. I 've were shut, for I can't remember hear- known them for years; I know all ing anything fall. When the gardener about them. Why, you've hardly called out, Owen ran and found her.
seen Julia!” He knew she was alive because she Miss Mullory stepped back as if moved, but I don't believe she said she was alarmed by the whirlwind she anything. I saw her being carried in. had raised so suddenly out of perfect Her eyes were wide open, like a sleep- calm. walker's, and her lips shut tight. She “I have seen her,” she said doggedly, looked as cool as a cucumber."
"once. That 's enough for me, and "But if she was conscious at all she for her, too, I expect. I won't tell would have cried out,” Joy exclaimed. you any more. You can find out for “She would have called for Owen." yourself.' Nina Mullory shook her head.
"You had much better not tell me “She did n't,” she observed, with anything,” said Joy, indignantly, “if finality, “make any sound from start what you have to say is against my to finish."
friends, for I simply should n't believe Joy was silent. She tried to think it."