But the days dragged on and she did not get about.

Downstairs, Christine and Palmer had entered on the round of midwinter

gayeties. Palmer's "crowd" was a lively one. There were dinners and

dances, week-end excursions to country-houses. The Street grew accustomed

to seeing automobiles stop before the little house at all hours of the

night. Johnny Rosenfeld, driving Palmer's car, took to falling asleep at

the wheel in broad daylight, and voiced his discontent to his mother.

"You never know where you are with them guys," he said briefly. "We start

out for half an hour's run in the evening, and get home with the

milk-wagons. And the more some of them have had to drink, the more they


want to drive the machine. If I get a chance, I'm going to beat it while

the wind's my way."

But, talk as he might, in Johnny Rosenfeld's loyal heart there was no

thought of desertion. Palmer had given him a man's job, and he would stick

by it, no matter what came.

There were some things that Johnny Rosenfeld did not tell his mother.

There were evenings when the Howe car was filled, not with Christine and

her friends, but with women of a different world; evenings when the

destination was not a country estate, but a road-house; evenings when

Johnny Rosenfeld, ousted from the driver's seat by some drunken youth,

would hold tight to the swinging car and say such fragments of prayers as

he could remember. Johnny Rosenfeld, who had started life with few

illusions, was in danger of losing such as he had.

One such night Christine put in, lying wakefully in her bed, while the

clock on the mantel tolled hour after hour into the night. Palmer did not

come home at all. He sent a note from the office in the morning: "I hope you are not worried, darling. The car broke down near the Country

Club last night, and there was nothing to do but to spend the night there.

I would have sent you word, but I did not want to rouse you. What do you

say to the theater to-night and supper afterward?"

Christine was learning. She telephoned the Country Club that morning, and

found that Palmer had not been there. But, although she knew now that he

was deceiving her, as he always had deceived her, as probably he always

would, she hesitated to confront him with what she knew. She shrank, as

many a woman has shrunk before, from confronting him with his lie.

But the second time it happened, she was roused. It was almost Christmas

then, and Sidney was well on the way to recovery, thinner and very white,

but going slowly up and down the staircase on K.'s arm, and sitting with

Harriet and K. at the dinner table. She was begging to be back on duty for

Christmas, and K. felt that he would have to give her up soon.

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