Leroy shrugged his shoulders and went off. For a moment I almost hated him for not feeling more resentful. I felt as if he owed it to his wife to take offence at my foolish speech.
It was evident that the "mountain woman" had become the fashion. I read reports in the papers about her unique receptions. I saw her name printed conspicuously among the list of those who attended all sorts of dinners and musicales and evenings among the set that affected intellectual pursuits. She joined a number of women's clubs of an exclusive kind.
"She is doing whatever her husband tells her to," said Jessica. "Why, the other day I heard her ruining her voice on 'Siegfried'!"
But from day to day I noticed a difference in her. She developed a terrible activity. She took personal charge of the affairs of her house; she united with Leroy in keep- ing the house filled with guests; she got on the board of a hospital for little children, and spent a part of every day among the cots where the sufferers lay. Now and then when we spent a quiet evening alone with her and Leroy, she sewed continually on little white night-gowns for these poor babies. She used her carriage to take the most ex- traordinary persons riding.
"In the cause of health," Leroy used to say, "I ought to have the carriage fumi- gated after every ride Judith takes, for she is always accompanied by some one who looks as if he or she should go into quarantine."
One night, when he was chaffing her in this way, she flung her sewing suddenly from her and sprang to her feet, as if she were going to give way to a burst of girlish temper. Instead of that, a stream of tears poured from her eyes, and she held out her trembling hands toward Jessica.
"He does not know," she sobbed. "He cannot understand."
One memorable day Leroy hastened over to us while we were still at breakfast to say that Judith was ill, -- strangely ill. All night long she had been muttering to herself as if in a delirium. Yet she answered lucidly all questions that were put to her.