When a Man Marries (Chapter 2, page 1 of 10)


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Chapter 2

It makes me angry every time I think how I tried to make that dinner a
success. I canceled a theater engagement, and I took the Mercer girls in
the electric brougham father had given me for Christmas. Their chauffeur
had been gone for hours with their machine, and they had telephoned all
the police stations without success. They were afraid that there had
been an awful smash; they could easily have replaced Bartlett, as Lollie
said, but it takes so long to get new parts for those foreign cars.

Jim had a house well up-town, and it stood just enough apart from
the other houses to be entirely maddening later. It was a three-story
affair, with a basement kitchen and servants' dining room. Then, of
course, there were cellars, as we found out afterward. On the first
floor there was a large square hall, a formal reception room, behind it
a big living room that was also a library, then a den, and back of all
a Georgian dining room, with windows high above the ground. On the
top floor Jim had a studio, like every other one I ever saw--perhaps a
little mussier. Jim was really a grind at his painting, and there
were cigarette ashes and palette knives and buffalo rugs and shields
everywhere. It is strange, but when I think of that terrible house, I
always see the halls, enormous, covered with heavy rugs, and stairs that
would have taken six housemaids to keep in proper condition. I dream
about those stairs, stretching above me in a Jacob's ladder of shining
wood and Persian carpets, going up, up, clear to the roof.

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