When a Man Marries (Chapter 4, page 2 of 8)

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Chapter 4

"I am afraid I am not very interesting," I said at last, when he
showed no sign of breaking the silence. "The--the illness of the butler
and--Miss Caruthers' arrival, have been upsetting."

He suddenly roused with a start from a brown reverie.

"I beg your pardon," he said, "I--oh, of course not! I was wondering
if I--if you were offended at what I said earlier in the evening;
the--Brushwood Boy, you know, and all that."

"Offended?" I repeated, puzzled.

"You see, I have been living out of the world so long, and never seeing
any women but Indian squaws"--so there were no Spanish girls!--"that I'm
afraid I say what comes into my mind without circumlocution. And then--I
did not know you were married."

"No, oh, no," I said hastily. "But, of course, the more a woman is
married--I mean, you can not say too many nice things to married women.
They--need them, you know."

I had floundered miserably, with his eyes on me, and I half expected him
to be shocked, or to say that married women should be satisfied with the
nice things their husbands say to them. But he merely remarked apropos
of nothing, or following a line of thought he had not voiced, that it
was trite but true that a good many men owed their success in life to
their wives.

"And a good many owe their wives to their success in life," I retorted
cynically. At which he stared at me again.

It was then that the real complexity of the situation began to develop.
Some one had rung the bell and been admitted to the library and a maid
came to the door of the den. When she saw us she stopped uncertainly.
Even then it struck me that she looked odd, and she was not in uniform.
However, I was not informed at that time about bachelor establishments,
and the first thing she said, when she had asked to speak to me in the
hall, knocked her and her clothes clear out of my head. Evidently she
knew me.

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