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Part III Edith Wharton

Chapter XXIX

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>From that moment the little house became the centre of a whirlwind. Treats so unforeseen, and of such magnitude, were rare in the young Fulmers' experience, and had it not been for Junie's steadying influence Susy's charges would have got out of hand. But young Nat, appealed to by Nick on the ground of their common manhood, was induced to forego celebrating the event on his motor horn (the very same which had tortured the New Hampshire echoes), and to assert his authority over his juniors; and finally a plan began to emerge from the chaos, and each child to fit into it like a bit of a picture puzzle.

Susy, riding the whirlwind with her usual firmness, nevertheless felt an undercurrent of anxiety. There had been no time as yet, between her and Nick, to revert to money matters; and where there was so little money it could not, obviously, much matter. But that was the more reason for being secretly aghast at her intrepid resolve not to separate herself from her charges. A three days' honey-moon with five children in the party-and children with the Fulmer appetite--could not but be a costly business; and while she settled details, packed them off to school, and routed out such nondescript receptacles as the house contained in the way of luggage, her thoughts remained fixed on the familiar financial problem.

Yes--it was cruel to have it rear its hated head, even through the bursting boughs of her new spring; but there it was, the perpetual serpent in her Eden, to be bribed, fed, sent to sleep with such scraps as she could beg, borrow or steal for it. And she supposed it was the price that fate meant her to pay for her blessedness, and was surer than ever that the blessedness was worth it. Only, how was she to compound the business with her new principles?

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With the children's things to pack, luncheon to be got ready, and the Fontainebleau pension to be telephoned to, there was little time to waste on moral casuistry; and Susy asked herself with a certain irony if the chronic lack of time to deal with money difficulties had not been the chief cause of her previous lapses. There was no time to deal with this question either; no time, in short, to do anything but rush forward on a great gale of plans and preparations, in the course of which she whirled Nick forth to buy some charcuterie for luncheon, and telephone to Fontainebleau.

Once he was gone--and after watching him safely round the corner--she too got into her wraps, and transferring a small packet from her dressing-case to her pocket, hastened out in a different direction.

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The Glimpses of the Moon
Edith Wharton

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