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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 20

sciously avoided being alone with him. These solitary inter-
views had once been to her a blessed relief from having to "act
engaged" to Mrs. Randolph's satisfaction. Now the very idea
of being alone with a man on whom she had unintentionally
inflicted pain was a, nightmare to her. He was so kind and so
good; any woman on earth might be glad to do anything for-
him; she herself would do anything but marry him.
  Taylor and Caroline together put Mrs. Randolph on her
train for the south, adjusted her grips, tipped the porter, and
assuaged her fears about her ticket, her baggage checks, and
the reservation of her berth. Thev waved good-bye to her as
her train pulled out, and then they faced each other in the cab
on the way up from the station.
  "Well, I suppose our engagement is off," he said lightly.
She nodded. "I have to thank you for the happiest three-
months in my life," he went on, still carefully keeping his gay
tone. "I wouldn't ask anything iiinch better than to be en-
gaged to you forever, under the Dame's patronizing eye."
  "I can't give you anything better," she said a little hoarsely.
  "I don't ask for anything," he answered.
  They did not speak again until the cab drew up to let her
out. Then she said, "Good-bye, John," with averted eyes, gave
him her hand, and went toward the elevator, melancholy, but
relieved. Taylor settled back in the Cab and thought of an
evening without cheerfulness or domesticity or Caroline. "I'll
play billiards, I suppose," he thought. "I'll, smoke too mueb
too. Well, I guess I'll begin now. Its too bad all around.
Caroline even let me smoke all over the flat." And he lighted
his cigar, trying desperately hard to find something funny in
the tangle. Doubtless it Avas the grim February twilight that
blurred his sight.

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