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Sheets, Geo M. (ed.) / The Wisconsin literary magazine
Vol. VI, No. 1 (October 1908)

Corbett, Elizabeth F.
A private performance,   pp. 15-20


Page 18


THE WISCONSIN LITERARY MAGAZINE
   Taylor glanced around, and seeing that the waiter was at a
safe distance he leaned forward and said, "Well, the most direct
way out of the difficulty, it seems to me, is for us to be engaged
until the Dame goes away to live."
   "John Taylor," she exclaimed, looking as if she thought him
out of his head.
   "Why not?" he asked. "It won't be any worse than an
actor and actress being engaged in a play, and after she goes
away you can easily keep up the deception by letter. Mrs.
Randolph is old and delicate; you won't be compelled even to
write about it for many years. Come on, Caroline, you scrib-
bler on the drama, let's put a few dramatic complications into
our own lives for the laudable purpose of giving the Dame a
little satisfaction."
  Caroline looked across the table at him. He was in one of
the rare moods of boyish irresponsibility that sometimes took
possession of his staid middle-aged character.
  "It will be a silly performance for two sensible old people
like us," she said slowly, "but I suppose now that we are in it
we may as well keep up the play." They gravely shook hands
across the table.
  The three months that followed were a romantic dream for
Mrs. Randolph. John Taylor, who had been taking Caroline
to restaurants and sending her books ever since the Dame came
to live with her, was now a constant visitor at the flat. He
kept the living-room filled with roses, and oftener than not
decorated it with his own presence. He always came to Sun-
day evening tea, a very informal meal that they got for them-
selves.
  It was at one of these teas that he and Caroline were alone
in the kitchen. She looked up from the salad dressing that
she was compounding and shook her head at him.
  "You laid it on a little unnecessarily thick, John," she said.
I gave you permission to keep up your deceit, but not to fab-


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