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was none to be compared with him.

And apparently, in my own mind, I agreed with her - there was none to
be compared with him. At all events, all the other boys that used
to call and bring me candy and send me flowers at about this time
suffered woefully in comparison with him! I remember that. So tame
they were - so crude and young and unpolished!

I saw Jerry myself during the Easter vacation of my second year in
college. Helen invited me to go home with her, and Mother wrote that I
might go. Helen had been home with me for the Christmas vacation,
and Mother and Father liked her very much. There was no hesitation,
therefore, in their consent that I should visit Helen at Easter-time.
So I went.

Helen lived in New York. Their home was a Fifth-Avenue mansion with
nine servants, four automobiles, and two chauffeurs. Naturally such
a scale of living was entirely new to me, and correspondingly
fascinating. From the elaborately uniformed footman that opened the
door for me to the awesome French maid who "did" my hair, I adored
them all, and moved as in a dream of enchantment. Then came Jerry home
from a week-end's trip - and I forgot everything else.

I knew from the minute his eyes looked into mine that whatever I had
been before, I was now certainly no mere "Oh, some friend of Helen's."
I was (so his eyes said) "a deucedly pretty girl, and one well worth
cultivating." Whereupon he began at once to do the "cultivating."

And just here, perversely enough, I grew indifferent. Or was it only
feigned - not consciously, but unconsciously? Whatever it was, it did
not endure long. Nothing could have endured, under the circumstances.
Nothing ever endures - with Jerry on the other side.

In less than thirty-six hours I was caught up in the whirlwind of his
wooing, and would not have escaped it if I could.

When I went back to college he held my promise that if he could gain
the consent of Father and Mother, he might put the engagement ring on
my finger.

Back at college, alone in my own room, I drew a long breath, and began
to think. It was the first chance I had had, for even Helen now had
become Jerry - by reflection.

The more I thought, the more frightened, dismayed, and despairing I
became. In the clear light of calm, sane reasoning, it was all so
absurd, so impossible! What could I have been thinking of?

Of Jerry, of course.

With hot cheeks I answered my own question. And even the thought of
him then cast the spell of his presence about me, and again I was back
in the whirl of dining and dancing and motoring, with his dear face
at my side. Of Jerry; yes, of Jerry I was thinking. But I must forget
Jerry.

I pictured Jerry in Andersonville, in my own home. I tried to picture
him talking to Father, to Mother.

Absurd! What had Jerry to do with learned treatises on stars, or with
the humdrum, everyday life of a stupid small town? For that matter,
what had Father and Mother to do with dancing and motoring and
painting society queens' portraits? Nothing.

Plainly, even if Jerry, for the sake of the daughter, liked Father and
Mother, Father and Mother certainly would not like Jerry. That was
certain.

Of course I cried myself to sleep that night. That was to be expected.
Jerry was the world; and the world was lost. There was nothing left
except, perhaps, a few remnants and pieces, scarcely worth the
counting - excepting, of course, Father and Mother. But one could not
always have one's father and mother. There would come a time when -

Jerry's letter came the next day - by special delivery. He had gone
straight home from the station and begun to write to me. (How like
Jerry that was - particularly the special-delivery stamp!) The most of
his letter, aside from the usual lover's rhapsodies, had to do with
plans for the summer - what we would do together at the Westons'
summer cottage in Newport. He said he should run up to Andersonville
early - very early; just as soon as I was back from college, in fact,
so that he might meet Father and Mother, and put that ring on my
finger.

And while I read the letter, I just knew he would do it. Why, I could
even see the sparkle of the ring on my finger. But in five minutes
after the letter was folded and put away, I knew, with equal
certitude - that he wouldn't.

It was like that all that spring term. While under the spell of the
letters, as I read them, I saw myself the adored wife of Jerry Weston,
and happy ever after. All the rest of the time I knew myself to be
plain Mary Marie Anderson, forever lonely and desolate.

I had been at home exactly eight hours when a telegram from Jerry
asked permission to come at once.

As gently as I could I broke the news to Father and Mother. He was
Helen's brother. They must have heard me mention him, I knew him well,
very well, indeed. In fact, the purpose of this visit was to ask them
for the hand of their daughter.

Father frowned and scolded, and said, "Tut, tut!" and that I was
nothing but a child. But Mother smiled and shook her head, even while
she sighed, and reminded him that I was twenty - two whole years older
than she was when she married him; though in the same breath she
admitted that I _was_ young, and she certainly hoped I'd be willing to
wait before I married, even if the young man was all that they could
ask him to be.

Father was still a little rebellious, I think; but Mother - bless her
dear sympathetic heart! - soon convinced him that they must at least
consent to see this Gerald Weston. So I sent the wire inviting him to
come.

More fearfully than ever then I awaited the meeting between my lover
and my father and mother. With the Westons' mansion and manner of
living in the glorified past, and the Anderson homestead, and _its_
manner of living, very much in the plain, unvarnished present, I
trembled more than ever for the results of that meeting. Not that I
believed Jerry would be snobbish enough to scorn our simplicity, but
that there would be no common meeting-ground of congeniality.

I need not have worried - but I did not know Jerry then so well as I do
now.

Jerry came - and he had not been five minutes in the house before it
might easily have seemed that he had always been there. He _did_ know
about stars; at least, he talked with Father about them, and so as
to hold Father's interest, too. And he knew a lot about innumerable
things in which Mother was interested. He stayed four days; and all
the while he was there, I never so much as thought of ceremonious
dress and dinners, and liveried butlers and footmen; nor did it once
occur to me that our simple kitchen Nora, and Old John's son at the
wheel of our one motorcar, were not beautifully and entirely adequate,
so unassumingly and so perfectly did Jerry unmistakably "fit in."
(There are no other words that so exactly express what I mean.) And in
the end, even his charm and his triumph were so unobtrusively complete
that I never thought of being surprised at the prompt capitulation of
both Father and Mother.

Jerry had brought the ring. (Jerry always brings his "rings" - and
he never fails to "put them on.") And he went back to New York with
Mother's promise that I should visit them in July at their cottage in
Newport.

They seemed like a dream - those four days - after he had gone; and I
should have been tempted to doubt the whole thing had there not been
the sparkle of the ring on my finger, and the frequent reference to
Jerry on the lips of both Father and Mother.

They loved Jerry, both of them. Father said he was a fine, manly young
fellow; and Mother said he was a dear boy, a very dear boy. Neither of
them spoke much of his painting. Jerry himself had scarcely mentioned
it to them, as I remembered, after he had gone.

I went to Newport in July. "The cottage," as I suspected, was twice
as large and twice as pretentious as the New York residence; and it
sported twice the number of servants. Once again I was caught in the
whirl of dinners and dances and motoring, with the addition of tennis
and bathing. And always, at my side, was Jerry, seemingly living only
upon my lightest whim and fancy. He wished to paint my portrait; but
there was no time, especially as my visit, in accordance with Mother's
inexorable decision, was of only one week's duration.

But what a wonderful week that was! I seemed to be under a kind of
spell. It was as if I were in a new world - a world such as no one had
ever been in before. Oh, I knew, of course, that others had loved - but
not as we loved. I was sure that no one had ever loved as we loved.
And it was so much more wonderful than anything I had ever dreamed
of - this love of ours. Yet all my life since my early teens I had
been thinking and planning and waiting for it - love. And now it had
come - the real thing. The others - all the others had been shams and
make-believes and counterfeits. To think that I ever thought those
silly little episodes with Paul Mayhew and Freddy Small and Mr. Harold
Hartshorn were love! Absurd! But now -

And so I walked and moved and breathed in this spell that had been
cast upon me; and thought - little fool that I was! - that never had
there been before, nor could there be again, a love quite so wonderful
as ours.

At Newport Jerry decided that he wanted to be married right away. He
didn't want to wait two more endless years until I was graduated. The
idea of wasting all that valuable time when we might be together! And
when there was really no reason for it, either - no reason at all!

I smiled to myself, even as I thrilled at his sweet insistence. I was
pretty sure I knew two reasons - two very good reasons - why I could not
marry before graduation. One reason was Father; the other reason was
Mother. I hinted as much.

"Ho! Is that all?" He laughed and kissed me. "I'll run down and see
them about it," he said jauntily.

I smiled again. I had no more idea that anything he could say would -

But I didn't know Jerry - _then_.

I had not been home from Newport a week when Jerry kept his promise
and "ran down." And _he_ had not been there two days before Father and
Mother admitted that, perhaps, after all, it would not be so bad an
idea if I shouldn't graduate, but should be married instead.

And so I was married.

(Didn't I tell you that Jerry always brought his rings and put them
on?)

And again I say, and so we were married.

But what did we know of each other? - the real other? True, we had
danced together, been swimming together, dined together, played tennis
together. But what did we really know of each other's whims and
prejudices, opinions and personal habits and tastes? I knew, to a
word, what Jerry would say about a sunset; and he knew, I fancy, what
I would say about a dreamy waltz song. But we didn't either of us know
what the other would say to a dinnerless home with the cook gone. We
were leaving a good deal to be learned later on; but we didn't think
of that. Love that is to last must be built upon the realization that
troubles and trials and sorrows are sure to come, and that they must
be borne together - if one back is not to break under the load. We
were entering into a contract, not for a week, but, presumedly, for a
lifetime - and a good deal may come to one in a lifetime - not all of it
pleasant. We had been brought up in two distinctly different social
environments, but we didn't stop to think of that. We liked the same
sunsets, and the same make of car, and the same kind of ice-cream;
and we looked into each other's eyes and _thought_ we knew the
other - whereas we were really only seeing the mirrored reflection of
ourselves.

And so we were married.

It was everything that was blissful and delightful, of course, at
first. We were still eating the ice-cream and admiring the sunsets. I
had forgotten that there were things other than sunsets and ice-cream,
I suspect. I was not twenty-one, remember, and my feet fairly ached
to dance. The whole world was a show. Music, lights, laughter - how I
loved them all!

_Marie_, of course. Well, yes, I suspect Marie _was_ in the ascendancy
about that time. But I never thought of it that way.

Then came the baby, Eunice, my little girl; and with one touch of her
tiny, clinging fingers, the whole world of sham - the lights and music
and glare and glitter just faded all away into nothingness, where it
belonged. As if anything counted, with _her_ on the other side of the
scales!

I found out then - oh, I found out lots of things. You see, it wasn't
that way at all with Jerry. The lights and music and the glitter and
the sham didn't fade away a mite, to him, when Eunice came. In fact,
sometimes it seemed to me they just grew stronger, if anything.

He didn't like it because I couldn't go with him any more - to dances
and things, I mean. He said the nurse could take care of Eunice. As if
I'd leave my baby with any nurse that ever lived, for any old dance!
The idea! But Jerry went. At first he stayed with me; but the baby
cried, and Jerry didn't like that. It made him irritable and nervous,
until I was _glad_ to have him go. (Who wouldn't be, with his eternal
repetition of "Mollie, _can't_ you stop that baby's crying?" As if
that wasn't exactly what I was trying to do, as hard as ever I could!)
But Jerry didn't see it that way. Jerry never did appreciate what a
wonderful, glorious thing just being a father is.

I think it was at about this time that Jerry took up his painting
again. I guess I have forgotten to mention that all through the first
two years of our marriage, before the baby came, he just tended to me.
He never painted a single picture. But after Eunice came -

But, after all, what is the use of going over these last miserable
years like this? Eunice is five now. Her father is the most popular
portrait painter in the country, I am almost tempted to say that he is
the most popular _man_, as well. All the old charm and magnetism are
there. Sometimes I watch him (for, of course, I _do_ go out with him
once in a while), and always I think of that first day I saw him at
college. Brilliant, polished, witty - he still dominates every group of
which he is a member. Men and women alike bow to his charm. (I'm glad
it's not _only_ the women. Jerry isn't a bit of a flirt. I will say
that much for him. At any rate, if he does flirt, he flirts just as
desperately with old Judge Randlett as he does with the newest and
prettiest _debutante_: with serene impartiality he bestows upon each
the same glances, the same wit, the same adorable charm.) Praise,
attention, applause, music, laughter, lights - they are the breath of
life to him. Without them he would - But, there, he never _is_ without
them, so I don't know what he would be.

After all, I suspect that it's just that Jerry still loves the
ice-cream and the sunsets, and I don't. That's all. To me there's
something more to life than that - something higher, deeper, more
worth while. We haven't a taste in common, a thought in unison, an
aspiration in harmony. I suspect - in fact I _know_ - that I get on his
nerves just as raspingly as he does on mine. For that reason I'm sure
he'll be glad - when he gets my letter.

But, some way, I dread to tell Mother.

* * * * *

Well, it's finished. I've been about four days bringing this
autobiography of Mary Marie's to an end. I've enjoyed doing it, in a
way, though I'll have to admit I can't see as it's made things any
clearer. But, then, it was clear before. There isn't any other way.
I've got to write that letter. As I said before, I regret that it must
be so sorry an ending.

I suppose to-morrow I'll have to tell Mother. I want to tell her, of
course, before I write the letter to Jerry.

It'll grieve Mother. I know it will. And I'm sorry. Poor Mother!
Already she's had so much unhappiness in her life. But she's happy
now. She and Father are wonderful together - wonderful. Father is still
President of the college. He got out a wonderful book on the "Eclipses
of the Moon" two years ago, and he's publishing another one about the
"Eclipses of the Sun" this year. Mother's correcting proof for him.
Bless her heart. She loves it. She told me so.

Well, I shall have to tell her to-morrow, of course.

* * * * *

_To-morrow_ - _which has become to-day._

I wonder if Mother _knew_ what I had come into her little sitting-room
this morning to say. It seems as if she must have known. And yet - I
had wondered how I was going to begin, but, before I knew it, I was
right in the middle of it - the subject, I mean. That's why I thought
perhaps that Mother -

But I'm getting as bad as little Mary Marie of the long ago. I'll try
now to tell what did happen.

I was wetting my lips, and swallowing, and wondering how I was going
to begin to tell her that I was planning not to go back to Jerry, when
all of a sudden I found myself saying something about little Eunice.
And then Mother said:

"Yes, my dear; and that's what comforts me most of anything - because
you _are_ so devoted to Eunice. You see, I have feared sometimes - for
you and Jerry; that you might separate. But I know, on account of
Eunice, that you never will."

"But, Mother, that's the very reason - I mean, it would be the reason,"
I stammered. Then I stopped. My tongue just wouldn't move, my throat
and lips were so dry.

To think that Mother suspected - _knew already_ - about Jerry and me;
and yet to say that _on account_ of Eunice I would not do it. Why, it
was _for_ Eunice, largely, that I was _going_ to do it. To let that
child grow up thinking that dancing and motoring was all of life,
and -

But Mother was speaking again.

"Eunice - yes. You mean that you never would make her go through what
you went through when you were her age."

"Why, Mother, I - I - " And then I stopped again. And I was so angry and
indignant with myself because I had to stop, when there were so many,
many things that I wanted to say, if only my dry lips could articulate
the words.

Mother drew her breath in with a little catch. She had grown rather
white.

"I wonder if you remember - if you ever think of - your childhood," she
said.

"Why, yes, of - of course - sometimes." It was my turn to stammer. I was
thinking of that diary that I had just read - and added to.

Mother drew in her breath again, this time with a catch that was
almost a sob. And then she began to talk - at first haltingly, with
half-finished sentences; then hurriedly, with a rush of words that
seemed not able to utter themselves fast enough to keep up with the
thoughts behind them.

She told of her youth and marriage, and of my coming. She told of her
life with Father, and of the mistakes she made. She told much, of
course, that was in Mary Marie's diary; but she told, too, oh, so much
more, until like a panorama the whole thing lay before me.

Then she spoke of me, and of my childhood, and her voice began to
quiver. She told of the Mary and the Marie, and of the dual nature
within me. (As if I didn't know about that!) But she told me much that
I did not know, and she made things much clearer to me, until I saw -

You can see things so much more clearly when you stand off at a
distance like this, you know, than you can when you are close to them!

She broke down and cried when she spoke of the divorce, and of the
influence it had upon me, and of the false idea of marriage it gave
me. She said it was the worst kind of thing for me - the sort of life I
had to live. She said I grew pert and precocious and worldly-wise, and
full of servants' talk and ideas. She even spoke of that night at the
little cafe table when I gloried in the sparkle and spangles and told
her that now we were seeing life - real life. And of how shocked she
was, and of how she saw then what this thing was doing to me. But it
was too late.

She told more, much more, about the later years, and the
reconciliation; then, some way, she brought things around to Jerry and
me. Her face flushed up then, and she didn't meet my eyes. She looked
down at her sewing. She was very busy turning a hem _just so_.

She said there had been a time, once, when she had worried a little
about Jerry and me, for fear we would - separate. She said that she
believed that, for her, that would have been the very blackest moment
of her life; for it would be her fault, all her fault.

I tried to break in here, and say, "No, no," and that it wasn't her
fault; but she shook her head and wouldn't listen, and she lifted
her hand, and I had to keep still and let her go on talking. She was
looking straight into my eyes then, and there was such a deep, deep
hurt in them that I just had to listen.

She said again that it would be her fault; that if I had done that she
would have known that it was all because of the example she herself
had set me of childish willfulness and selfish seeking of personal
happiness at the expense of everything and everybody else. And she
said that that would have been the last straw to break her heart.

But she declared that she was sure now that she need not worry. Such a
thing would never be.

I guess I gasped a little at this. Anyhow, I know I tried to break
in and tell her that we _were_ going to separate, and that that was
exactly what I had come into the room in the first place to say.

But again she kept right on talking, and I was silenced before I had
even begun.

She said how she knew it could never be - on account of Eunice. That I
would never subject my little girl to the sort of wretchedly divided
life that I had had to live when I was a child.

(As she spoke I was suddenly back in the cobwebby attic with little
Mary Marie's diary, and I thought - what if it _were_ Eunice - writing
that!)

She said I was the most devoted mother she had ever known; that I was
_too_ devoted, she feared sometimes, for I made Eunice _all_ my world,
to the exclusion of Jerry and everything and everybody else. But that
she was very sure, because I _was_ so devoted, and loved Eunice so
dearly, that I would never deprive her of a father's love and care.

I shivered a little, and looked quickly into Mother's face. But she
was not looking at me. I was thinking of how Jerry had kissed and
kissed Eunice a month ago, when we came away, as if he just couldn't
let her go. Jerry _is_ fond of Eunice, now that she's old enough to
know something, and Eunice adores her father. I knew that part was
going to be hard. And now to have Mother put it like that -

I began to talk then of Jerry. I just felt that I'd got to say
something. That Mother must listen. That she didn't understand. I told
her how Jerry loved lights and music and dancing, and crowds
bowing down and worshiping him all the time. And she said yes, she
remembered; that _he'd been that way when I married him_.

She spoke so sort of queerly that again I glanced at her; but she
still was looking down at the hem she was turning.

I went on then to explain that _I_ didn't like such things; that _I_
believed that there were deeper and higher things, and things more
worth while. And she said yes, she was glad, and that that was going
to be my saving grace; for, of course, I realized that there couldn't
be anything deeper or higher or more worth while than keeping the home
together, and putting up with annoyances, for the ultimate good of
all, especially of Eunice.

She went right on then quickly, before I could say anything. She said
that, of course, I understood that I was still Mary and Marie, even
if Jerry did call me Mollie; and that if Marie had married a man that
wasn't always congenial with Mary, she was very sure Mary had enough
stamina and good sense to make the best of it; and she was very sure,
also, that if Mary would only make a little effort to be once in a
while the Marie he had married, things might be a lot easier - for
Mary.

Of course, I laughed at that. I had to. And Mother laughed, too. But
we understood. We both understood. I had never thought of it before,
but I _had_ been Marie when I married Jerry. _I_ loved lights and
music and dancing and gay crowds just exactly as well as he did. And
it wasn't his fault that I suddenly turned into Mary when the baby
came, and wanted him to stay at home before the fire every evening
with his dressing-gown and slippers. No wonder he was surprised. He
hadn't married Mary - he never knew Mary at all. But, do you know? I'd
never thought of that before - until Mother said what she did. Why,
probably Jerry was just as much disappointed to find his Marie turned
into a Mary as I -

But Mother was talking again.

She said that she thought Jerry was a wonderful man, in some ways;


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