Edna Ferber: Fanny Herself

9. CHAPTER NINE (continued)

"Perhaps you will dine with Mrs. Fenger and me at our home some evening? Mrs. Fenger will speak to you about it."

"I'm afraid I'm usually too tired for further effort at the end of the day. I'm sorry----"

"Some Sunday night perhaps, then. Tea."

"Thank you." And so out, past the spare secretary, the anxious-browed stenographer, the academic office boy, to the hallway, the elevator, and finally the refuge of her own orderly desk. Slosson was at lunch in one of the huge restaurants provided for employees in the building across the street. She sat there, very still, for some minutes; for more minutes than she knew. Her hands were clasped tightly on the desk, and her eyes stared ahead in a puzzled, resentful, bewildered way. Something inside her was saying over and over again:

"You lied to him on that very first day. That placed you. That stamped you. Now he thinks you're rotten all the way through. You lied on the very first day."

Ella Monahan poked her head in at the door. The Gloves were on that floor, at the far end. The two women rarely saw each other, except at lunch time.

"Missed you at lunch," said Ella Monahan. She was a pink-cheeked, bright-eyed woman of forty-one or two, prematurely gray and therefore excessively young in her manner, as women often are who have grown gray before their time.

Fanny stood up, hurriedly. "I was just about to go."

"Try the grape pie, dear. It's delicious." And strolled off down the aisle that seemed to stretch endlessly ahead.

Fanny stood for a moment looking after her, as though meaning to call her back. But she must have changed her mind, because she said, "Oh, nonsense!" aloud. And went across to lunch. And ordered grape pie. And enjoyed it.

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