A Poor Wise Man (Chapter 19, page 1 of 11)

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Chapter 19

The surface peace of the house on Cardew Way, the even tenor of her days there, the feeling she had of sanctuary did not offset Lily's clear knowledge that she had done a cruel and an impulsive thing. Even her grandfather, whose anger had driven her away, she remembered now as a feeble old man, fighting his losing battle in a changing world, and yet with a sort of mistaken heroism hoisting his colors to the end.

She had determined, that first night in Elinor's immaculate guest room, to go back the next day. They had been right at home, by all the tenets to which they adhered so religiously. She had broken the unwritten law not to break bread with an enemy of her house. She had done what they had expressly forbidden, done it over and over.

"On top of all this," old Anthony had said, after reading the tale of her delinquencies from some notes in his hand, "you dined last night openly at the Saint Elmo Hotel with this same Louis Akers, a man openly my enemy, and openly of impure life."

"I do not believe he is your enemy."

"He is one of the band of anarchists who have repeatedly threatened to kill me."

"Oh, Lily, Lily!" said her mother.

But it was to her father, standing grave and still, that Lily replied.

"I don't believe that, father. He is not a murderer. If you would let him come here--"

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