THE FINANCIER 
least mental evasion of a fact which physically she 
subscribed to? Why do one thing and think another? 
The religionist will call Cowperwood's attitude evil; the 
cowardly life lover, hiding behind the bulwarks of con- 
vention, like a clam shut in its shell, will say that he was 
too brutal—too unnecessarily frank Cowperwood mere- 
ly noticed the fact of his wife's attitude as a sign of mental 
weakness—of a spirit too frail to front the truths of 
life. When he was younger—when he had first mar- 
ried her—there had been a kind of charm in her shyness 
and her unwillingness or inability to see life as it was; 
but, now that he was growing into deeper and sterner 
things, it seemed anything but worth while. Compulsion 
to face hard, brutal facts had made him at times long for 
a wife who would face them with him. Why was it that 
so often he could not tell her the things that he thought, 
that he felt he could tell Aileen, for instance? He was 
not afraid to do so, yet he did not. Not so much for his 
sake as for hers. He hated to lacerate that shell of 
belief with which she clothed the world. She covered 
it over, as it were, with a soft-tinted seeming, woven of 
her own ideas solely, like an oyster pearling its hard and 
chalky home. 
But the necessity of dancing at least two or three times 
this evening was quite obvious, and Lillian led the cotillon, 
which was the opening feature, with her husband. Later 
she danced once with Arthur Rivers, who was an old 
family acquaintance by now, and once with a younger 
friend of Cowperwood's, Shelley Brooks. Ellsworth 
asked her to dance, but she felt tired and a little bored, 
and asked to be excused. While she and Cowperwood 
were dancing he noticed the languid manner in which 
she laid her arm on his. 
" You don't care for this much, do you?" he observed. 
" Not at all. I never did. I'm a little tired to-night, 
anyhow." 
He had observed how she had shirked her music of 
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