That evening Pearl had the satisfaction of writing Mr. Wood that Durland had stopped smoking. She gave the whole scene on the beach.
Never before in all her life had she been amused at writing a letter; she had looked upon them as a duty to be paid to friendship. But to this man whom she had never seen she enjoyed writing. It was like patting Alfred--you could express your friendly emotion without fear of rousing any response whatsoever. Almost every day she had some progress to report--Mrs. Conway had consented to keep her jewelry in the safe in her bedroom provided for the purpose. At first she had positively refused, asserting that as she could never remember the combination her jewels remained locked up until an expert was sent down from town to open the safe; and that for her part she would as lief a thief had them, who might get some fun out of them, as that they stayed locked up in her safe for the rest of time. But Pearl very competently offered to make the combination and remember it, and come every morning and get them out at any hour Mrs. Conway chose. A rumor of burglaries in the neighborhood induced Edna to yield.
Then before a week was over algebra became to Durland an illumined subject, a study of mystic beauty and romantic association. He not only mastered it in the proud determination to prove that men were not fools but he invented clever discussions to lengthen his brief hour into an hour and a half; while Antonia, wondering at his industry, kept insisting that it was time to go to the public beach.