An Educated Lady
An Educated Lady
BY FORREST CRISSEY
SHE was his. And what a heart-siege it had taken to make her his own! All the Irish ardor, wit, readiness, and chivalry that had ever reddened a drop of Beamish blood, and all the cunning, prudence, and constancy that his Welsh mother had given him as a heritage, had gone into that winning.
But now the law, the church, and society decreed that she was securely his. There was another way of putting this wonderful fact—the way Danny put it on his way home from work one Saturday shortly after his wedding:
"An educated lady, married to a journeyman bricklayer! A school-mistress, the wife of a graduate hod-carrier who hasn't quite got the smell of cabin peat-fire out of his skin!"
As the car rattled and lurched along Cottage Grove Avenue, the incidents of the closed siege came vividly before him—the adoration that had leaped up within him at that first meeting at the Neighborhood House dance and all the meetings that followed.
"To look back over it," he reflected, "makes my bones ache and my heart thump as they did that day when I carried my first hod up the scaffolding on the Bonnie Brae apartments. But she's mine now."
He flipped from the car and hurried eagerly along, thinking gaily that nobody who saw his lime-whitened clothes would suspect him of being the husband of an educated lady who might have accepted the hand of a school principal or a college professor without marrying above her station. But the miracle was accomplished—she would be waiting for him in their snug little flat, and he would exchange the grimy regimentals of his trade for the clothes of a gentleman. He was not ashamed of his trade—he had always made that plain to her—but he didn't propose that she should ever be shamed by it, either. That had been one of the first lessons he had learned of his shrewd Welsh instincts. She had never seen him in his work clothes until after they were married—never seen him unshaven, or dressed in a mode that might have suggested a speaking acquaintance with a trowel and a mortar-board. "When she finds a trace of lime in my hair she can throw me down!" had been his resolve at the outset of his ambitious courtship.
He frowned slightly as he saw a short, straight man and a cockey, wire-haired dog waiting at the end of the path. These days, anything that threatened to delay his getting home to Rose was likely to wrinkle his brows a bit, even if it did mean more work.
"How's the terrier, Mr. Kane?" he asked, as he approached.
For a moment the man made no answer; but he gave his questioner a searching scrutiny with a pair of inordinately sharp eyes. At length he remarked:
"Danny, you're a wonder! How long ago was it that I gave you that first job of work?"
"About three years, sir."
"Just about—and every time you opened your mouth then you sounded like a Killarney wake working overtime. You had a brogue with more bristles on it than that Airedale's back. Now you say 'the terrier' instead of 'the tarrier!' A man who can smother brogue like yours in that length of time has the power to do almost anything he may choose to tackle. And that isn't all you've done, either. You've built yourself over, and done a fairly smooth job of it, too. How'd you like to take a building contract—a small one, to be sure, but a starter just the same?"
"Do you think I could put it through?" asked Danny, no longer frowning.
"Do I?" laughed the man, struggling with the restive terrier. "Anybody that could get away with the contract you closed up at the church altar the other day, after your start, with your handicaps, would find building a four-flat apartment simply pie."
"But I haven't any capital to speak of," objected the delighted Danny.
"Don't need any in this case," was the crisp answer. "Bring the material bills and pay-roll to my office every Saturday and get the money. To-morrow's Sunday. Come over to the house in the afternoon and we'll go over the plans and specifications. I'll warn you beforehand that there'll not be much velvet in it—just a good, straight percentage. But I'll back you. You've got me interested, and I want to see if you can make good."
"I'll be there, sir," said Danny, "about three."
Here was news that would make the gray eyes of his Rose glow with that odd, warm light that was more than meat and drink and pipe to him!
In his eagerness to break the good news and see her smile "his smile," he almost forgot the meat he was to get at the little butcher-shop around the corner. The news would keep—and she should see that he wasn't the husband to forget the smallest errand that she intrusted to him! But he frowned to find that two women customers were waiting their turn before him.
Suddenly he heard one of the women with their backs to him speak the name Rose.
"Yes," the one in the trim brown tailored suit was saying, "I've just been to see her. Of course I had to be careful what I said; but you know she's clever, and I hope I made her understand that her old friends are not going to forget her, even if she did marry an ignorant brick-mason—a common laboring man. She wouldn't say a word—you know how proud Rose has always been—but I could see that she was on the verge of breaking down."
"Do you think she feels that she's made a mistake?" Danny heard the other woman ask.
"How could she help it?" came the quick answer. "Rose Wills is too keen and sensitive a woman not to wake up to the difference before the honeymoon is over. But the trouble is going to be that she's so dreadfully high-spirited and conscientious that pride and a sense of duty will hold her to him and make her suffer long after she realizes that he is impossible as a husband."
"I saw him once," remarked the woman in gray with a book under her arm, "and I thought he had a remarkably pleasant face—rather handsome and fine. I quite liked his looks."
"Oh yes," was the quick retort, "but what intellectual companionship could she expect from a bricklayer? It's simply hideous; I can't bear the thought of it. If there was ever a nature that would be mismated with any man not a gentleman, Rose Wills has it. I just can't call her by her married name! Think of a woman of her temperament—"
Danny had heard enough. He slipped, quietly out of the little shop and waited in the news-store until the two women passed and turned into Briar Avenue. He saw one woman enter the little brick cottage next to the Arcadia flat building. If Rose didn't volunteer her caller's name he could get it from the janitor of the Arcadia. Then he entered the meat-market again, made his purchase, and walked slowly home—seeing red on every foot of the cement sidewalk.
Was the battle for Rose going to last forever? Had it just begun at the moment when he had thought it eternally ended? Then it came to him that this meddler had already planted the seeds of discontent—possibly of separation.
By the time he had reached the foot of the stairs he had determined upon his course. He must never forget for a moment that Rose was an educated lady, and that he couldn't "have it out" with her in plain, blunt speech, as if she were of another sort. You couldn't force an educated lady to give up her thoughts offhand—not if you were an ignorant bricklayer and she were your wife. You must wait and let her come around to it in her own way. It didn't do to break in on her feelings; folks of Rose's kind didn't do it that way—they just couldn't. He had learned that already. He would keep his own counsel and a close eye upon the weather as indicated by her face.
As he expected, she was at the door before he could turn the key, and kissed him as usual, but a glance told him that she had been crying. He seemed not to see this, and launched at once into an account of meeting Mr. Kane. But there was not the look of loving eagerness in her eyes that he had expected.
The dinner was silent. Danny did not attempt to force conversation, but fell to studying Rose's little elegances of carriage and movement. Yes, Rose was a lady, and he—well, he was a brick-mason, and ignorant and rough by contrast. There was no dodging that. But hadn't he already rebuilt himself so well that the sharp-eyed lawyer had called him a wonder? And with Rose right in his home for him to watch and see how she did things, couldn't he keep on rebuilding until he was at least a brick-veneer gentleman? He would never let up on that job—never!—not so long as he had Rose!
"It's Saturday night," he said, when dinner had ended, "and I ought to see Boyle. He's a good boss-carpenter and knows how to get work out of men. We were boys together."
"I'm very tired to-night—too tired to talk or read. You'll not mind if I don't wait up for you?" she said.
"Of course not. But I must hurry to catch Mike at Carpenter's Hall. I may be a little late—" And he was gone. It was the first time he had left the flat without a kiss from Rose.
Danny discreetly found through Johnson, the Swede janitor of the Arcadia flats, the name and family history of the woman in the brown tailored suit. She was Miss Seagrave, he was told; but to him she was "that woman." He was not surprised to learn that she was English, and that she taught literature in the high school where Rose had also taught for five years. And she had a young brother that she was sending through the university—and that kept her so busy that she was always hard up and often had to borrow. He wished she had to borrow from him! She'd get the money, all right, if he had to draw out every cent he had in the bank and borrow himself. Then, when she failed to pay up on the tick of the clock, he would set her things out in the street! The idea pleased him. He played with it all the way over to Carpenter's Hall, as he used to dream, when a boy, about finding the pot of gold that the old Lord Kell was said to have buried in the hill behind the ruins of his castle.
But of course he'd never have a chance to lend her money; that was absurd. He'd have to wait a long while to hit upon a way to get square with the woman who had come between Rose and himself—some practical way. It would come about sometime, if he could only wait long enough—he was sure of that. But it might come too late! The thought made him set his teeth. Could it be that Rose would get tired of him?—his Rose?—and after she had burned her bridges behind her and had become his lawful and wedded wife?
No; that couldn't quite be! And still, the poison of that woman's call had already begun to work. That was plain. It wasn't the same home he had left in the morning. At six o'clock that evening he had felt himself the happiest man on earth. Now—well, now he was as happy as a bridegroom who had awakened from his honeymoon to face domestic bankruptcy.
The foundations of the new building were almost in when Danny fell into the habit of dodging into the neat little restaurant in the basement of the Park Bank building. He was always in a hurry to get back to the work, and if he went home for his luncheon with Rose he couldn't rush. Besides, he liked to have time to watch the dainty way in which she served and ate. It was almost an education to see Rose pour a cup of tea!
The first time he came into that restaurant he noted the cashier for a County Clare girl. The very quirk of her lips and the sky-blue of her eyes marked her as "Clare stock." He had never been a hand to make free with girls, and since he had met Rose he had hardly spoken to another woman. But he couldn't help saying to the cashier, as he slid his check and a coin over the dulled face of the cigar-case:
"S-h-u-r-e! You, too?"
"You're a keen one," she commented. "I couldn't have told that you're Irish."
As he passed out she said, "Come again."
He nodded without turning and hurried back to his work. The next day, as he approached the counter the cashier was talking with a dark-eyed girl whose hair was a lusterless black.
"Maybe you can tell where this girl comes from. She's Irish, all right, too," laughed the cashier, as she punched the register. The dark girl nodded as if the remark had the force of an informal introduction.
"Give it up," answered Danny.
"She's my sister. That's one on you! Maggie works in the bank up-stairs. She's the one that got me this place."
After that Maggie always nodded to the young contractor and passed a word with him. She took the cash while her sister, Ellen, ate luncheon.
"No nonsense about that Maggie," was Danny's appraisement. "She's business—and smart as a whip!"
One noon he suddenly noticed that the woman at the second table was "that woman." She was about to leave her table and pay her check, and the whim seized him to fall in line behind her.
As his unsuspecting enemy fumbled in her bag for change, he heard her say, "Oh, Maggie, please say to Mr. Blake that I'll call and pay that interest Saturday, and that I shall wish to have the note extended."
"Oh, that 'll be all right, Miss Seagrave," was the assuring answer.
It had come to Danny at last—the thing he had been waiting for! He didn't know much about big business, but enough to be sure that notes were sometimes sold. And if she borrowed at the bank, she must give her note for it, with some sort of security that was solid. Banks weren't in business to take any long chances. And he would get that note, no matter how much extra he had to pay. Yes, he'd do it; although things were going a bit better at home, and there had been moments of happiness—something like those he had dreamed of when he felt so sure of Rose and of the way she would always feel toward him. Then the fires of his hate had burned low. In those moments he could almost see the situation with the English woman's eyes: he was Irish, and she was English! He was ignorant in that he was not an educated man. He had carried the hod and handled the trowel and the mortar-board—in short, he was a brick-mason, a laboring man. And there was no denying that Bose was a born lady, and that she was educated and could have held her own with the best of those college professors if she had married one of them.
When Rose would take from the heavy book-case that she had brought with her one of the leather-bound books with a title that was beyond Danny's tongue, his heart would beat like a riveting-machine. Then, without moving a muscle, he would watch her furtively. Was she reading because she was an educated woman and took to it—enjoyed it as he did the Sunday paper? Or was she reaching back to it because she was tired of him and had found she had made a mistake?—reaching, through the door that the book opened, to the things she had left behind?
But always when Rose opened one of these books Danny's eyes took on a look of adoring reverence. Once Rose looked up and caught it. There was something soft and motherly in her eyes as she dropped the book into her lap, reached for his hand, and exclaimed:
"Oh, you dear Danny!"
That was one of the times when he could almost have forgiven his arch-enemy. And it was only an evening or two later, while the glow of that experience still warmed and lighted Danny's face, that Rose told him she had been invited to spend the afternoon at a little club of the high-school teachers that she had helped to organize.
"And you're going!" was his eager comment. "You needn't bother about supper," he added; "I can take care of myself."
She rewarded him with a rare smile and declared: "No; I don't leave my husband to a cold supper in order to stay out at a club meeting."
Oh, but it was good to hear her talk like that! She wouldn't say that if she were tired and ashamed of her bargain. Danny whistled from morning till night that day of the club meeting.
Rose was there when he returned—there and not there, for she seemed to move apart from him, and there was a queer look on her face that put him outside of her vision, even when he was standing squarely in front of her. It couldn't be that anything had gone wrong to-day, with such a start-off! She'd come out of her mood when they settled down to their meal, and he'd do his part by giving the talk a cheerful get-away.
"And what did you talk about at your meeting, Rose?" he asked.
"I—I—I'm afraid—you wouldn't quite understand," was the sudden, dismayed answer. And the next moment she was pushing back from the table and fleeing into her bedroom with unfamiliar haste.
As he sat there staring at his plate he could hear her sobs in the bedroom. He had heard women cry before; but an educated lady—he couldn't stand that! Tearing a leaf from his time-book, he scribbled: "Gone to see Kane." This he left on her plate.
When he found Kane patroling the edge of the vacant lot in tow of the leashed terrier, he boiled over in a string of Irish expletives that smelled of peat-fires and eviction riots.
"Now," said the lawyer, "let's cross over to the boulevard, find a seat, and get the rest of this out of your system. I knew it was coming, Danny."
On the seat in the shadow of the big clump of lilac bushes that hid them from the arc-light, the lawyer listened to Danny's shy, choking recital.
"Just hold your horses, Danny," was the crisp advice of the counselor. "Go slow and do nothing rash. Meet me here at this time to-morrow night and I'll hand you that woman's mortgage. You may pay me for it whenever you can—a little at a time, any way you like."
When the men knocked off from work the next day, Danny asked Mike to wait a bit. Then they sat on a saw-horse and Danny, uncurling a shaving, asked:
"Mike, do you remember the day when the Kelly Cove boys were doing a fine job of beating you into a pulp?"
"Oi do, Danny; an' if ever—"
"Well, I want you to help me do a little beating. To do it I've got to clean up every cent that can be squeezed out of this contract. But every lick of the work must be done right, too."
"Oi'm on!" declared Mike, driving the point of his knife into the saw-horse with a thrust that snapped the blade.
"Danny," said his patron, a week later, "you're going to beat my figures on this contract. You'll have it done in a week's less time than I figured. How do you get such days' work out of men?"
"They're all ignorant Irish tarriers," grimly responded Danny.
The lawyer laughed. "I've half a mind to give you a contract for another apartment over on the other street—one that will cost twice as much. If you can keep this gang together and pick up more tarriers of the same strain, I'll do it. You could get it out of the way before cold weather at this rate."
"The boys will stay with me, sir," replied Danny, a lump of gratitude choking his throat. "You see, I'm fighting for something now," he added.
"I'll have the plans and specifications ready by Sunday. Then we'll get together and figure it out. Cheer up, Danny! You'll beat 'em all yet."
The weather map of Rose's face was a variable and exciting study for the next few months. Danny's scrutiny was as worshipful as ever, but more silent. At times he almost wished that she were an Irish lass with whom he could "fight it out" and have it over. But, if she were, she wouldn't be Rose. Oh, there was a world of difference between a common woman and an educated lady! And that difference seemed to be building a solid wall about her that made it harder for him to reach her every day. If it kept on this way for long—but the money on that mortgage was due to him the 17th of December. And the day after that would be Rose's birthday. He hadn't thought of that before. Anyhow, something was bound to happen when the show-down came—if that woman didn't pay up at the tick of the clock.
Rose was sitting at the dining-table figuring over household accounts when she startled Danny with the remark:
"Do you know you haven't spent more than three dollars for clothing since we were married?"
"Yes; I laid in a good stock then."
"And you haven't smoked a cigar for—let's see—it is—"
"I know it," interrupted Danny. "I get along just as well."
"But you bought me those books—" and then she walked to the window and stood a long time looking down upon the glistening, rain-drenched pavement.
Danny almost dared to hope that she would suddenly turn about, come to him, sit down upon his knees, and otherwise shatter the genteel traditions of educated people. Finally she went to the book-case, drew forth a volume, and began to read. But soon her eyes were fixed upon the soft brown picture of the potato-diggers on the wall. Why should an educated lady be forever studying a pair of solemn, hump-shouldered clodhoppers in wooden shoes—and a picture, at that?
One thing became very clear to him: the destiny of an educated lady was not a thing for his bungling hands. It was not to be clipped and broken and tapped into place like a brick. It must unfold itself in its own high, unhindered way. It was his part to watch that unfolding with dumb and submissive lips. No, he couldn't interfere with Rose; she must go her own way, in her own time—and he would keep his hands off.
But not off that woman! If he couldn't warm his heart at the hearth-fire of love, he could singe it in the flames of honest hate!
And Danny found that hate was a masterful trainer that held him tight and steady to the work in hand. Steady? He saw, felt, tasted nothing but his purpose. And he had never dreamed how much work he could do before he fell under the hand of this unsparing trainer. Nothing tired him now. He didn't know what it was to let up or let down. Night and day were much the same to Danny now. His mind and his heart seemed to grow harder than the muscles of his trowel-arm. He was always drilling away at his game.
This new trainer brought out new and unsuspected powers in Danny. He could see chances to turn a dollar now that he would have walked past before. While his patron had advanced him the money to buy the mortgage, his revenge would taste a hundredfold sweeter if he knew that every cent of the score had been paid and the slate was clean. And clean it must be! So Danny found new business, increased his force, enlarged his borders, learned the game swiftly, and took profits beyond his dreams.
It helped, too, having that mortgage in the tin box where he kept his contracts and other papers. Occasionally he carried it in his pocket for a day or two at a time. It was good to reach a sly hand to it and feel the edge of the knife that was to do the business. Of course, when the time came he would return it to the bank and have the usual notice sent—the notice to which, as he knew from Maggie, Miss Seagrave gave her condescending attention when it suited her convenience. No, it wouldn't do for her to suspect that the mortgage had changed hands! She must think that she still had the soft old vice-president of the bank to deal with. How he wished that the law would let him set her things out on the street the minute the mortgage became past due! But, anyhow, it amounted to the same thing: she would have to "see" Danny Beamish, the "ignorant brick-mason." He wished that he could have a look at her face when she got the news from the bank. Then, when she came to see him, he would be right there on the job to take all the toll of vengeful satisfaction for which he had slaved and burned these many months.
Danny was nearing the end of his race. His day was only a few squares off on the calendar, and when the store building on Cottage Grove Avenue was settled for, next Saturday, his whole score would be paid. It was time to put the mortgage back into the bank, so that the notice might be sent out. This time the vice-president asked him into the private room, and after a little chat that official intimated that if the time came, in the course of Danny's enlarging operations, when he needed to borrow, the bank would be glad to consider a loan—a line of credit. He had certainly made strides in the short time in which he had been operating.
"Operating!" That was something from a bank official—for a man who had been carrying the hod four years ago! Danny's eyes had a bright, hard gleam in them as he came out of the private office. But they darkened as they rested on the woman who was entering the bank. What a fluke it would be if she should pay out this time! He stepped quickly to the high desk behind a pillar and appeared to be writing. If she cashed a check and took the money away with her, then there would be nothing to worry about. Yes, it was all right; she was getting the currency.
"You'll have to indorse it," he heard the paying-teller say, and she turned and walked to the ladies' desk, where she could put down her hand-bag.
He had seen enough and was starting to go out when he saw another woman enter the bank and walk straight for the same desk. Why, it was Rose! What other woman could walk quite like that? It was hard lines to have to stand there and see Rose talk with that woman. Well, he'd better stay there until it was over. It would be safer—
What was that? Rose looking straight at the woman and not seeing her? Oh no; there could be no accident about that! The reason why was a greater mystery than a page of one of Rose's books; but Rose and that woman, who had been teachers together for years, had faced each other at the same desk without a nod. And he knew that there were several gradations of greeting with Rose before she reached the point of not seeing a person that she knew.
But what did it mean? Oh, well, what was the use of trying to figure that out? It was beyond him. Anyhow, it didn't matter now. The only thing for him to think about was the little party that he was going to pull off when that woman came to beg him for more time. After that it didn't matter much what happened! That was going to be his day.
Saturday night, as Danny entered Mr. Kane's den, he laid his hat upon the tobacco-strewn table and silently drew from his inside pocket a thick package of currency.
"There 'tis," he said, dropping it listlessly alongside his hat.
"All of it?"
A curious smile twitched at the lips of the lawyer, whose eyes flashed an admiring gleam at the other's face.
"Danny, you're a wonder!" exclaimed the lawyer.
"God! Don't say that again!" blurted Danny. "You said that the night—" He did not finish the sentence. And he stared so long at his own hat that he did not know it was on the table. Oh, how happy he had been when the lawyer had used those very words! He hadn't let himself think of it for months.
But hating was a lonesome business! And there were too many ashes in the pay. He hadn't thought of that before. He had set out to make that woman eat ashes out of his hand—and he'd been living on them himself!
"Well," said his friend, reflectively, packing his pipe, "I suppose you'll take your lady around to see that woman get what's coming to her? That's the way it's always done at the theater and the film shows."
Danny shook his head. "Not Rose!" he finally answered. Then he stammered: "You see—well—Rose is an educated lady. They—she don't do things like that."
As Danny entered the flat and dropped into his place in the morris-chair, Rose remarked, in her quietest tone:
"Young Seagrave has just been here with a message from his sister, begging me to come to her. I don't understand it."
Danny's eyes were fixed with abstract intentness upon the brown print of the "Angelus," and he made no answer. The unfolding of destiny was now in the hands of Rose. Presently she continued:
"It—it is very difficult to understand, because—well, because Miss Seagrave once so far forgot herself as to talk with me about you—to say things, you understand, that I wouldn't listen to from anybody—not from my own mother! That's why I can't understand this message. But it seems she's ill, and—"
"I understand all about it," answered Danny. "I guess we'd better go. But I'll have to put on my other clothes first."
"Why?" questioned Rose.
"She's—" Danny hesitated. "She's an educated— woman—isn't she?"
"Yes; and I always thought her a lady until—" And then Rose placed two long hatpins between her lips and stood before the glass, arms uplifted to the brim of that tilting creation that Danny could hardly believe was the work of human hands.
In their brief walk Danny offered no word of explanation. Somehow the great, steady fire of hate had suddenly burned out into dull ashes. He was tired. He wished—oh, how he wished!—that Rose could know how lonely he felt.
The stiff, Englishy boy ushered them into the library. One swift glance told Danny that they were walled in with books—books like Rose's. A lamp like a great spreading mushroom shed a soft flood of light upon an old carved table. A smaller light flooded a picture of a woman whose bare shoulders were so warm and lifelike that Danny quickly looked away. The face was the face of a lady. She seemed about to speak, disdainfully.
Guiltily, timidly, Danny reached into his pocket—the encompassing multitude of books and the haughty lady in the painting bearing witness to his shame—and took out the mortgage that he had secured from the bank at the close of business. He handed it to Rose.
"Tell her that—that it's all right—anything! Tell her to take her time. It's a—birthday present for you."
While the boy was still inside his sister's room, Rose held the mortgage under the light and read its cold, solemn statements with eyes that grew large and bright and soft by turns—eyes that shot a quick, understanding glance at her husband. And Rose smiled down upon Danny as his own mother might have smiled had she been an educated lady. Then she disappeared into the bedroom, from the door of which the boy beckoned her.
When she returned, Danny hurried as eagerly from the book-walled room and the haughty, mocking eyes of the beautiful lady as a timid child might have stepped from the solemn, awesome shadows of a cathedral into outer sunshine. Rose had his arm in a close, warm grasp.
"What did she say when—"
"I didn't tell her," quietly answered Rose. "Evidently she knew nothing about the mortgage. You bought it from the bank, I see. I think I understand. But she sent for me to beg my forgiveness—and yours."
"Oh, there's nothing else to do but to accept her apology. But Danny, she—she's been the cause of my being wickedly cruel to you. If you weren't a gentleman you could never forgive her—or me, either."
"Yes, I know," said Danny, tingling under the quick pressure upon his arm. "I know she told you that I was just an ignorant bricklayer, or something like that."
"That did hurt—then, and a long time after. But not so much as the other."
"What other?" asked Danny, suddenly stopping.
"That 'water seeks its own level,' and that any noon I might see you talking with the girls at the restaurant. She said that the day I went to the club meeting. I couldn't believe it. Now I know that she was only angry and made something of nothing. She said so to-night. But, oh, Danny . . ."
There was a tense interval of silence, in which Danny waited dumbly for further unfoldings of destiny. Then she resumed:
"You've been a dear to me, and I've behaved horridly. I haven't been a good wife to you at all. But you can't think how great a change it was to stop working, as I had worked for years, with scores of teachers and pupils about, and then drop out of it all into a very quiet little flat, and just use my hands for a few hours a day, and then sit and think about the exciting things going on at the high school and the board of education. It was something like—like shutting you up in that library we have just left, to sit all day where you couldn't mix with the men and smell of the mortar, and—"
"I'd go crazy!" interrupted Danny.
Not until they were inside the little flat and Danny was turning the night-latch of the door did Rose speak again. Then her muff suddenly dropped to the floor, and her slender arms closed impulsively about Danny's neck.
"Danny," she said, "you think of me as an educated lady. I know you do. But I'm a woman and a wife first. And I'm glad I've married a man who can love and hate and forgive—and lay bricks! You're something of a wonder, Danny—and you're a man!"