What does Alice Waythorn do when she encounters all three of her husbands in Edith Wharton's short story "The Other Two"?

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At the very end of Edith Wharton's short story "The Other Two," Alice encounters all three of her husbands in the same room. She responds by easily appeasing and smoothing over the awkwardness of the situation, an ability of hers that her current husband, Waythorn, has come to accept as an absurd part of her identity.

Alice found herself in the library of Waythorn's home with all three of her husbands for multiple reasons. First, she had invited her first husband, Haskett, to meet with her in the library at an appointed time to discuss important business about their daughter Lily. She was late coming home, though. As a result, her current husband Waythorn arrived before she did to find Haskett waiting for Alice in the library. Like a gentlemanly host, Waythorn invites Haskett to have a cigar while he continues to wait for Alice. Second, her second husband Varick had intruded on Waythorn's home for the first time to discuss with Waythorn a matter or business he felt was urgent. Both of Alice's ex-husbands were very embarrassed to find themselves all together in the same room with Alice's current husband. Third, Alice asked the footman to serve tea in the library because the plumber was still working in the drawing-room, and she had finally arrived in the library, much later than Haskett expected her to arrive.

Upon seeing Varick in the library with her husband, she looks surprised at first but hides it by smiling. She almost stops smiling when she discovers Haskett is in the room, too, but quickly recovers her smile. She then smooths over any of the men's embarrassment by acting as a charming hostess and offering them tea. Waythorn laughs by the end of the scene because he has come to realize the most absurd aspect of his wife's nature is her ability to escape difficult situations by harmonizing herself with the situation, just as she is still in harmony with her ex-husbands. In this respect, he has begun to think of his wife as being "'as easy as an old shoe'—a shoe that too many feet had worn." In short, while he is no longer completely happy in his marriage, he accepts Alice is a person he must share with other men.

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