Book II
Chapter IV
 

I

When Mortimer, after tapping on his wife's door, was bidden to enter he found her sitting with Aileen over a breakfast tray, the belated tears running down into her coffee. Aileen, promising to return after she had given her father his breakfast, made a hasty retreat; and Dwight took his wife in his arms and soothed the grief which grew almost hysterical in its reaction from the insensibility of the morning.

"You won't leave me for a moment?" she sobbed, in this mood finding his sympathy exquisite and necessary. "You'll stay home--until--until--"

"Of course. I'll telephone Wicksam after breakfast. He can run the office for a day or two. By the way Maria will be here this evening; Sally is better. Joan and Tom and the rest will be here in about an hour. Tom and I will attend to everything. You are not to bother, not to think."

"Oh, you are too wonderful--always so strong--so strong--how I love it. But I'll never get over this--poor old mommy!"

But the paroxysm passed, and just as Mortimer was on the verge of morning starvation and too polite to mention it, she grew calm by degrees and sent him down to breakfast. The emotional phase of her grief was over.