At something after two o'clock that night, K. put down his pipe and

listened. He had not been able to sleep since midnight. In his

dressing-gown he had sat by the small fire, thinking. The content of his

first few months on the Street was rapidly giving way to unrest. He who

had meant to cut himself off from life found himself again in close touch

with it; his eddy was deep with it.

For the first time, he had begun to question the wisdom of what he had

done. Had it been cowardice, after all? It had taken courage, God knew,

to give up everything and come away. In a way, it would have taken more

courage to have stayed. Had he been right or wrong?


And there was a new element. He had thought, at first, that he could fight

down this love for Sidney. But it was increasingly hard. The innocent

touch of her hand on his arm, the moment when he had held her in his arms

after her mother's death, the thousand small contacts of her returns to the

little house--all these set his blood on fire. And it was fighting blood.

Under his quiet exterior K. fought many conflicts those winter days--over

his desk and ledger at the office, in his room alone, with Harriet planning

fresh triumphs beyond the partition, even by Christine's fire, with

Christine just across, sitting in silence and watching his grave profile

and steady eyes.

He had a little picture of Sidney--a snap-shot that he had taken himself.

It showed Sidney minus a hand, which had been out of range when the camera

had been snapped, and standing on a steep declivity which would have been

quite a level had he held the camera straight. Nevertheless it was Sidney,

her hair blowing about her, eyes looking out, tender lips smiling. When

she was not at home, it sat on K.'s dresser, propped against his

collar-box. When she was in the house, it lay under the pin-cushion.

Two o'clock in the morning, then, and K. in his dressing-gown, with the

picture propped, not against the collar-box, but against his lamp, where he

could see it.

He sat forward in his chair, his hands folded around his knee, and looked

at it. He was trying to picture the Sidney of the photograph in his old

life--trying to find a place for her. But it was difficult. There had

been few women in his old life. His mother had died many years before.

There had been women who had cared for him, but he put them impatiently out

of his mind.

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