"And, Larry, that's not all. You told me I had the clearness of vision of a cold boiled lobster--said I was the greatest fool that ever had brains enough not to paint with the wrong end of an umbrella. Paid me some little compliment like that."
"Something like that," Larry agreed.
"Well, Larry, old son, you were right again! I've been a worse fool than all you said. Been blinder than one of those varnished skulls some tough-stomached people use for paper-weights. After she'd said 'yes' she gave me the inside story of why we had fallen out. And guess why it was?"
"You don't want me to guess. You want to tell me. So go to it."
"Larry, we men will never know how clever women really are!" Hunt shook his head with impressive emphasis. "Nor how they understand our natures--the clever women--nor how well they know how to handle us. She confessed that our quarrel was, on her part, carefully planned from the beginning with a definite result in view. She told me she'd always believed me a great painter, if I'd only break loose from the pretty things people wanted and paid me so much for. The trouble, as she saw it, was to get me to cut loose from so much easy money and devote myself entirely to real stuff. The only way she could see was for her to tell me I couldn't paint anything worth while, and tell it so straight-out as to make me believe that she believed it--and thus make me so mad that I'd chuck everything and go off to prove to her that I damned well could paint! I certainly got sore--I ducked out of sight, swearing I'd show her--and, oh, well, you know the rest! Tell me now, can you think of anything cleverer than the way she handled me?"
"It's just about what I would expect of Miss Sherwood," Larry commented.
"Excuse me," said a voice behind them. "I found the door open; may I come in?"
Both men turned quickly. Entering was Miss Sherwood.