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"Then am I to understand that you prefer me not to allude to it at all,ever?" asked the woman, leaning for ward and looking up at him with a certain anxiety.

Naturally, with his time so occupied Thorndike found little opportunity for pleasuring, and Mary missed even his brief droppings-in of earlier days. There were certain duty calls that for "Why, yes. It is n't necessary," he policy's sake he must make, and she repeated.

"That gives it a great deal of significance," Mary said thoughtfully. "I don't see how," the young man declared.

"O, it makes one's intercourse just so much more complicated, when there are subjects that are not to be mentioned," she returned.

"For the matter of that, whenever there is any intercourse between two individuals, it is bound to be more or less involved," he said lightly. "The individuals themselves are not uncomplex."

After that Mary carefully avoided all reference to the subject under taboo. Sometimes, on the rare occasions of their going out together, they were made uncomfortably conscious of each other by some perfectly casual turn of conversation or trend of remark. Then, without looking at him, Mary would know that Thorndike was flushing, and he would be aware that, though to all outward appearence she was as conventionally calm as before, inwardly she was far from composed. It never failed to cause a certain restraint between them, which it took some little space to banish completely.

By the end of the year Thorndike's was fairly established. The acceptance of his poems was pretty much a matter of certainty now and through them he realized quite a substantial profit. Then he had some editorial work to do, and outside of this he was busily engaged on a dramatic poem which one of the most reputable publishing houses in the city had already signified itself ready to produce. The head of the firm was an old friend of Miss DeWolfe's.

willingly sacrificed her personal desire to her consideration of his welfare. But she looked forward to the long sum


They had talked of going up to the "God-forsaken" country that had been Harold's abiding-place in his days of dolor, before Mary "discovered" him. Thorndike felt he would like to gloat over his former misery; to experience the bitter-sweet of retrospect, to compare his present condition with his past, and feel the exultant thrill of deliverance. And Mary wished to revisit the spot where her "life had begun again."

When they actually stood upon the old ground and saw, even in the midst of the summer plenitude, how bleak and bare it looked, it made them both breathe deep.

"In what strange places we sometimes find our happiness," said Mary, with wet eyes.

Thorndike looked at her wistfully. "Has it really been happiness for you, Mary?" he asked.

Later he grew bitterly impatient of it all and wanted to get away. The thrill had not been as exultant as he had expected, and the memories that kept crowding in upon him at every turn were more than sufficient to counterbalance the satisfaction he felt in his emergence from these conditions. He told Mary he could not endure it.

"I'll be melancholy mad if I stay here another day," he declared suddenly, as they were standing together in the wan twilight, looking over the rugged hills.


Why, it does n't affect me so, in the least," she returned "I rather like the poor old place. Somehow I am in sympathy with it. Im so sorry for its


neglectedness and lonesomeness. seems as though it must feel forsaken, and oh! I pity anything that feels for saken."

"Well, you'll be forsaken yourself, dear heart, if you don't consent to leave tomorrow, for I swear I can't drag through another day here. I could write a feeling Ode to Melancholy this moment. I'm clean knocked out, and blue as all indigo."

So they left the next morning, and the summer proved a disappointment to both of them, for what time Harold was not at work in the city he was taking solitary jaunts into the open in search of inspiration, which he failed to find, and Mary's few glimpses of him were brief and unsatisfactory enough.

His moods were very variable, and he seemed restless and oppressed. By fall she really began to feel anxious about him, he looked so fagged and worn. But he only pooh-poohed her fears for his health. He was perfectly well, he declared. He was simply a little out of kilter spirit-wise. He'd soon be "in shape" again.

But as the season advanced and he failed to fulfill his promise, Mary's heart misgave her. She could not blind her self any longer to the truth that some thing was actually wrong somewhere, and as she could not hope for any enlightenment on the subject from Thorndike, she set about discovering the cause of his ailment herself.

One wretched February day he came in, looking terribly haggard and ill.

Outside the wind was blowing furiously with every gust the rain was driven against the window-pane in perfect sheets. Inside the logs were lit upon the hearth, giving out faint chirpings and twitterings as they burned, and making a "fireshine in a shady place," as Thorndike said.

He greeted Mary as usual on his entrance, and then flung himself down heavily upon the floor beside her, lean

ing his head against her knee and gazing moodily into the flames. She stroked his hair from his forehead with a gentle hand. Neither of them spoke for a considerable space. Then suddenly the young fellow sprang to his feet, and began pacing the floor excitedly.

"It's no use," he burst out abruptly, "I'm all wrong and I 've got to give up. Everything is going to the dogs my work and everything else. Do you know," he demanded savagely, "that I have n't written a line, not a single line, for six months? What's to become of me? What am I to do? I can 't go on like this for ever: I'll kill myself first."

It might almost have seemed that he felt her in some way responsible for his condition: he flungs out his sentence as though they had been so many accusations against her. She felt herself begin to tremble.

"You are talking like a child," she said somewhat sternly.

"Child or man, I tell you this can't go on much longer. It's driving me mad," he cried rebelliously.

Miss De Wolfe leaned forward in her chair, and he paused, arrested in his pacing by the authority in her eyes.


Stop a moment," she said. member you have not told me what is the cause of all this. It must have its origin in something. It is not simply a mood. When a man talks as you are doing he does not do so from a whim. Tell me frankly, make a clean breast of it, what is the reason of it all, Harold?"

"O, it is a mood," he cried, with a certain bravado. "It is a whim. But they 've lasted so long now I'm getting hipped, I suppose. Nothing is the matter,- that is, nothing that won't pass away ifif. But this sort of thing, this hanging around and not being able to write at all, is driving me wild. I have thought sometimes that if I were to go away — perhaps ❞—

"You were away all summer," inter

rupted Mary quietly. "All summer, with the exception of a week or two."

"And all this time I have been waiting, waiting, waiting to see if you had the manhood to be straightforward, and honest, and open with me. But you have

"But I don't mean just away from town," insisted Thorndike, "I mean away from the whole cursed business, never once had the first impulse of honthe conditions,-the-the country. I mean, abroad."

Mary sat quite still, looking meditatively at the fire. She seemed imperturbably calm and composed.

At length she looked at him, and there was an odd sort of smile upon her lips as she said:

Really, Harold, it is scarcely complimentary to give me credit for so little penetration."

orable confession. What right had you, in the beginning, to see this girl, when you found that you - that she- How dared you see her when you knew you were bound to me? It was dastardly! It was contemptible! Ah, perhaps you thought that because I was no longer a girl that I could not feel. One does not outgrow one's capacity for suffering. One does n't grow indifferent to pain.' She broke down suddenly, and for a

Then her lips lost their curve and moment stood silent, clasping and unbegan to quiver.

"What do you mean," he demanded. It took a minute or so before she felt she could control her voice to reply: "Do you suppose I do not know that you are in love?"

He swung himself about with a short laugh. "Of course, I am in love," he said. "No one ought to know that better than you."

Suddenly he felt a hand upon his arm and turned around to find Mary standing beside him white and trembling.

"Don't insult me," she whispered breathlessly. "At least spare me that. I know, I have seen, I have watched. Don't try to lie to me any longer. It is not worth while. See, I have found it all out, what you were too cowardly to tell me, that you care for-Agnes Duane."

She let go his arm and stood facing him squarely, with her head raised proudly erect and in her eyes an expression he had never seen there before. It made him quail. He felt himself dumb before it. But she did not wait for him to speak. It seemed as though all her long years of self-repression were giving way now before her bitter sense of injury and loss, and she let her emotions. carry her where they would; she did not even seem to care as to the whither.

clasping her hands with violent energy. "O Mary." Thorndike began, humbly, defensively, but at the first sound of his voice she interrupted him.

"Hush!" she cried fiercely. "I know all you are going to say. I can anticipate it, every word. A woman knows what a man will say when he has broken her heart: a woman knows. So we'll take all that for granted. and pass on to the more important issues-"

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"Mary, you must listen," the young man burst out desperately. "You must let me speak. I am a knave and a brute, I know, but I'm not a willful knave and brute. I did not tell you because I felt it would all pass away, and I thought it could only hurt you-Heaven knows it hurts me enough-and I felt, I thought, if I could get away for a while, quite — away, amid new surroundings and far from all the old associations, I could escape from it all. I never thought of it as a deception. I only wanted to spare you. I have never for one moment been voluntarily false. It has all been a horrible working together of evil,—but I have tried to be true. You must believe that I have tried to be. true."

Mary's eyes were still fixed on him with that hard coldness of expression that they had held before he commenced

to speak. His appeal had not moved her in the least.

"You are mine to do what I like with, as the children say. I believe I am doing right for you too when I-when I keep you for myself. I can do more for you than she could. She is nothing but a child, an inexperienced girl. She cannot give you the tithe of what I can. She could not care, could not begin to care- she has not known - O God! what am I saying?" the woman cried with a sudden back-rush of realization.

"Yes, yes," she cried hastily. "We'll take it for granted that you are truth itself, then. But the result is the same as though you were not, you know. The result is deplorable: and we have got to grapple with the result. We can't take anything else into consideration at all. Whether you were an ignorant boy when you thought you loved me, or whether I was a fatuous fool when I thought you did, or whether - or whether - If you have n't told this girl you love her " "Mary!" cried the young fellow with a bitter reproach in his voice. "Then you have?" demanded the awakened amid strange surroundings to woman with slow scorn.

At first it seemed as though he would not answer. Then he straightened himself up, and with a visible effort re. plied briefly : "No."

"Well, then, what I was going to say is this: If you haven't told this girl you love her," she repeated, with cruel deliberation, "it relieves you of one responsibility: you do not owe her any reparation. Your whole obligation is to me. You must hold to our engagement, I will not release you. You are mine, and I refuse to give you up. All along I have thought only of you, but now I must think of myself. I will not be humiliated so. Do you hear me? I refuse to give you up." She paused, as though she expected him to break into a storm of opposition and reproach. Instead he bowed his head, and said simply, gently: "Dear Mary, I do not desire to be released. I have not asked it. All I pray is for strength to cleave to you with my whole heart."

She threw back her head with a haughty half-smile of reckless assur


Thorndike sprang to her, but she held him back with both arms extended straight before her. She had the wild, frightened look of one who has been walking in her sleep, and has suddenly

a consciousness of imminent danger.

"Let me go, let me go!" she panted as he tried to hold her. She was trembling violently. Her chest began to heave and her chin to quiver. She broke 'from him hurriedly, and in a second the door had closed upon her, and he was alone.

He flung himself into a chair, and sat there in a state of helpless misery for an hour without moving. Then he rose and went to the door, and stood upon the threshold and listened. All was still through the house. He went back to his old place, and began a fresh term of waiting, for, of course, he meant to see Mary before he went away.

But hour after hour passed, and she did not appear. A maid came in and lit the lamps, and Torndike took up a book and made a pretense of reading. The girl placed fresh logs upon the andirons, and caused the charred embers to glow anew. She flicked the hearth free of ashes, and then went to the windows and drew the curtains close.

Torndike scarcely knew she was in the room. She was decorously aware of his presence, and went through the Yes, you ought to pray for that," list of her duties with more than conshe made answer. "Because you are scientious attention. At length she mine, you know. Mine by right of withdrew, stooping to straighten a rug trove,'" she added with a bitter laugh. as she went.

After she had gone Torndike sat, still holding the open book in his hand, and gazing over it into space.

Presently the book slid noiselessly to the floor, and the young man's head fell back against the cushioned chair. He was worn out with waiting and with worry.

A few moments later Mary appeared in the doorway. Her eyes had changed and were inexpressibly sad and gentle. All her old manner of mild dignity had returned to her; she was once more selfcontrolled and calm, but she looked deadly weary.

At first she did not know that Thorndike was asleep, but as she drew nearer and saw his closed eyes she stepped more lightly for fear of waking him. She paused some distance from him, but after a moment she dragged a chair noiselessly to his side and looked down at him breathlessly.

On his face were all the traces of his recent suffering. She noticed the dark shadows beneath his eyes and the sharp angle of his cheek-bone. He looked very young and very unhappy. Even in his sleep his sorrow seemed present with him, and in a moment Mary felt her heart go out to him with inexpressible yearning. A great flood of tenderness swept over her; the sort of tenderness a mother feels for a child. She longed to lay her arms about him, and put his head upon her bosom, and soothe him and comfort him; but she did not so much as touch his hair with her trembling hand. She retreated into the shadow and waited his awakening.

When he woke he turned instinctively to where she sat, as though he had


known she would be there. As their eyes met he smiled faintly.

"Have I slept very long?" he asked with a pitiable attempt at naturalness. She shook her head.

"You were gone a long time, dear, and I was tired."

"Harold," she said slowly, "I want you to go to her and tell her you love her; but first I want to say how I regret

how I regret- But regrets are useless things, are n't they? Still, I wish you to know that I am not satisfied with myself, and that if I could undo- But you understand without my explaining. I think I am too tired to explain. What I want is that you should go to her and tell her - I want you to go now. I want you to leave me now. I cannot talk; I cannot argue; but I want you to go to go now."

The young man took a step toward her, breathing heavily.

"No," he replied, "I will not go. I am yours. I belong to you." "Yes," she returned in a dull, apathetic way. "Yes, I know; and I give you to her. Please go to her; please leave me.”

"Really, Mary? Do you really bid me to go? Will you not let me stay?" She nodded her head first in assent and then in denial.

He turned from her despairingly with a dead weight of guilt at his heart, but at the door he stopped and faced her.

"I can't leave you so, Mary," he burst out passionately. "It is too hard! I feel like a contemptible brute. And yet -I have struggled - I have tried-' Mary sighed wearily. Don't," she said.

Julie M. Lippmann.

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