When a Man Marries (Chapter 3, page 1 of 12)


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Chapter 3

The minute I had consented I regretted it. After all, what were Jimmy's
troubles to me? Why should I help him impose on an unsuspecting elderly
woman? And it was only putting off discovery anyhow. Sooner or later,
she would learn of the divorce, and--Just at that instant my eyes fell
on Mr. Harbison--Tom Harbison, as Anne called him. He was looking on
with an amused, half-puzzled smile, while people were rushing around
hiding the roulette wheel and things of which Miss Caruthers might
disapprove, and Betty Mercer was on her knees winding up a toy bear that
Max had brought her. What would he think? It was evident that he thought
badly of us already--that he was contemptuously amused, and then to have
to ask him to lend himself to the deception!

With a gasp I hurled myself after Jimmy, only to hear a strange voice in
the hall and to know that I was too late. I was in for it, whatever was
coming. It was Aunt Selina who was coming--along the hall, followed by
Jim, who was mopping his face and trying not to notice the paralyzed
silence in the library.

Aunt Selina met me in the doorway. To my frantic eyes she seemed to
tower above us by at least a foot, and beside her Jimmy was a red,
perspiring cherub.

"Here she is," Jimmy said, from behind a temporary eclipse of black
cloak and traveling bag. He was on top of the situation now, and he was
mendaciously cheerful. He had NOT said, "Here is my wife." That would
have been a lie. No, Jimmy merely said, "Here she is." If Aunt Selina
chose to think me Bella, was it not her responsibility? And if I chose
to accept the situation, was it not mine? Dallas Brown came forward
gravely as Aunt Selina folded over and kissed me, and surreptitiously
patted me with one hand while he held out the other to Miss Caruthers. I
loathed him!

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