Good-evening, Mrs. Callender--good evening, Mr. Callender. You see I have my husband with me! Edward has said, all through his illness, that the very first time he went out it would be over here to your house, so you see it's quite an event. The doctor said this morning when he found Edward so depressed that if the weather continued to be mild it would be the very best thing in the world for him to have a little change of scene and thought--to be taken out of himself; that's what he really needs now. He wanted to come over here alone, but I said to him: No, Edward, I don't dare let you go without me; I'm so afraid you might do something imprudent. Of course he doesn't realize it, but he has to be watched every minute, especially now that he begins to seem all right. You have to be so careful about ptomaine poisoning. Aren't men just like children? I'm sure you wouldn't behave like this, Mr. Callender, if your wife took you out after such a severe illness as he has had!--Well, it's very kind of you to speak that way. I'm sure I have tried to do all that I could--nobody knows what I've been through; I've had to keep everything to myself. Oh, yes, I know that I ought to have had a trained nurse, but at the time I was so anxious about Edward--when it's your husband you feel as if you must do everything yourself for him. Yes, that's what uses you up so, standing on your feet. I said to Edward to-day: Edward, if you realized all I go through, standing on my feet--
Yes, dear, I know you wanted me to send for your mother to help me, but--he doesn't understand, as you would, Mrs. Callender, how much work it makes to have another person--and especially an older person, like your husband's mother--in the house during sickness. I really felt, just now, that with Edward as he is, I really couldn't stand anything more on my mind.
Yes, he looks a great deal better, I know, but his color isn't quite right even yet--you can notice it around his nose and under his eyes. You ought to have seen him at first--he was actually green. Yes, you were, Edward; the doctor said--why, Edward!--Very well, dear, it's all right, we won't say any more about it. No, dear, I know you don't like me to ask you how you feel, but it's necessary sometimes. Don't you think you'd better have a glass of milk, dear? Never mind, Mrs. Callender, when he speaks like that I just let him alone. Why don't you talk to Mr. Callender, dear? Is that a cigar? Now you don't want to smoke? Oh, Edward, I wish you wouldn't! Why can't you just enjoy seeing Mr. Callender do it?--Well, if you must!
You've no idea how irritable he gets, Mrs. Callender--he doesn't hear, he's talking to your husband. It's his nerves, of course; ptomaine poisoning upsets you all over--it seems to come out in a new place every day. Yesterday I bought him some shirts at a sale in town--they were really beautiful quality--the only thing the matter with them was that they were a little tight in the neck, and he really became almost--uncontrolled--at the idea of wearing them. Even when I pointed out to him that as I bought them at a sale they couldn't be exchanged, it made no difference to him. Men have no idea of economy.
Was that your new maid who went through the hall just now, Mrs. Callender? She looks as if she had a cheerful disposition. Oh, yes, the one I have is neat, but she doesn't seem to get anything done. She cries all the time, the way they always do when they have a lover. We have done nothing but change all summer. Edward says he is sick and tired of hearing about servants, but I tell him if the burden of it all fell on him, as it does on me, he'd find out the difference. The things they do pass belief; I had a cook the first Christmas after we were married, twelve years ago, and she--yes, Edward dear, perhaps we had better go home.--You see, Mr. Callender, he's not had as much dissipation as this for a long time. When I think of all those nights when I sat watching beside him, with the light turned down in the room so that I could only just see his face, and with all those queer, creepy noises around that you seem to hear in the house after midnight when everything else is still, it made it seem as if nothing was ever going to be the same any more--as if the children and I--oh, when I think of that and look at him now, it makes me so happy! Yes, Edward dear, I'm coming. Keep well Mr. Callender. Goodbye, Mrs. Callender.