Edna Ferber: Fanny Herself

10. CHAPTER TEN (continued)

They were deep in book talk when Fascinating Facts strolled in, looking aggrieved, and spoiled it with the thoroughness of one who never reads, and is not ashamed of it.

"My word, I'm having a rotten time, Fenger," he said, plaintively. "They've got a tape-measure out of your wife's sewing basket, those two in there, and they're down on their hands and knees, measuring something. It has to do with their rug, over your rug, or some such rot. And then you take Miss Brandeis and go off into the library."

"Then stay here," said Fanny, "and talk books."

"My book's a blue-print," admitted Fascinating Facts, cheerfully. "I never get time to read. There's enough fiction, and romance, and adventure in my job to give me all the thrill I want. Why, just last Tuesday--no, Thursday it was--down at the works----"

Between Fanny and Fenger there flashed a look made up of dismay, and amusement, and secret sympathy. It was a look that said, "We both see the humor of this. Most people wouldn't. Our angle is the same." Such a glance jumps the gap between acquaintance and friendship that whole days of spoken conversation cannot cover.

"Cigar?" asked Fenger, hoping to stay the flood.

"No, thanks. Say, Fenger, would there be a row if I smoked my pipe?"

"That black one? With the smell?"

"The black one, yes."

"There would." Fenger glanced in toward his wife, and smiled, dryly. Fascinating Facts took his hand out of his pocket, regretfully.

"Wouldn't it sour a fellow on marriage! Wouldn't it! First those two in there, with their damned linen closets, and their rugs--I beg your pardon, Miss Brandeis! And now your missus objects to my pipe. You wouldn't treat me like that, would you, Miss Brandeis?"

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