"I haven't the slightest curiosity concerning him, dear," said

Ailsa, attempting corroboration in a yawn--which indiscretion she

was unable to accomplish.

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"Well," remarked Camilla, "the chances are that you've seen the

last of him if you showed it too plainly. Men don't come back when

a girl doesn't wish them to. Do they?"

After Camilla had gone, Ailsa roamed about the parlours, apparently

renewing her acquaintance with the familiar decorations.

Sometimes she stood at windows, looking thoughtfully into the empty

street; sometimes she sat in corners, critically surveying empty

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space.

Yes, the chances were that he would scarcely care to come back. A

man of that kind did not belong in her sister-in-law's house,

anyway, nor in her own--a man who could appeal to a woman for a

favourable opinion of himself, asking her to suspend her reason,

stifle logic, stultify her own intelligence, and trust to a

sentimental impulse that he deserved the toleration and

consideration which he asked for. . . . It was certainly well for

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her that he should not return. . . . It would be better for her to

lay the entire matter before her sister-in-law--that was what she

would do immediately!

She sprang to her feet and ran lightly up-stairs; but, fast as she

fled, thought outran her slender flying feet, and she came at last

very leisurely into Celia's room, a subdued, demure opportunist,

apparently with nothing on her mind and conscience,

"If I may have the carriage at ten, Celia, I'll begin on the

Destitute Children to-morrow. . . . Poor babies! . . . If they

only had once a week as wholesome food as is wasted in this city

every day by Irish servants . . . which reminds me--I suppose you

will have to invite your new kinsman to dine with you."

"There is loads of time for that, Honey-bud," said her

sister-in-law, glancing up absently from the note she was writing.

"I was merely wondering whether it was necessary at all," observed

Ailsa Paige, without interest.

But Celia had begun to write again. "I'll ask him," she said in

her softly preoccupied voice, "Saturday, I think."

"Oh, but I'm invited to the Cortlandt's," began Ailsa, and caught

her under lip in her teeth. Then she turned and walked noiselessly

into her bedroom, and sat down on the bed and looked at the wall.

* * * * *

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