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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 19

A PRIVATE PERFORMANCE
ricate the way you've been doing to-day. I've had an awful
time anyway to keep the Dame from writing the news to my
sister. You're too dramatic to go in for this sort of thing,
John. You go in for it too hard."
   He faced her, his half-smoked cigar still in his mouth, and
looked her steadily in the eye. Suddenly she gave a little
choking cry.
   "I've let it go on, and never thought of how you might get
to feel. I've blindly, foolishly, let it go on."
   "Its no use?" he asked.
   She shook her head and turned away. "I thought that we
were too old for it to matter, or I never should have let the af-
fair go on. I'm a settled old maid. I like my life and I don't
want to change it."
  "It needn't change it much,-"
  "I can't have it changed even that little," she interrupted.
"I don't love you even enough to sit down opposite you at the
table three times a day. You're as nice a man as they make,
John, but-Oh, I never dreamed-"
  She sat down at the table and put her head in her hands.
Presently he re-lighted his cigar and sat down beside her.
  "We'll have to keep up the story, though," he said. We've
gone too far to retreat."
  "Do you think that we had better?" she asked, raising her
head and looking at him doubtfully. "The Dame doesn't go
for three weeks yet."
  "I don't think that there's anything else to do."
  She nodded helplessly. "I wouldn't have had this other hap-
pen for worlds," she said, watching him miserably.
  He smiled with reassuring cheerfulness, but she was not re-
assured. That night the Dame heard her crying in her bed.
  Taylor's demeanor after this episode, as before, was happy
and attentive, with just the right shade of tenderness. If
Caroline did not look as happy as Mrs. Randolph thought a be-
trothed woman ought to, she put his roses in water and read
his books, and smiled bravely when he looked at her. She con-


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