Joe Drummond came to see Sidney the next day. She would have avoided him

if she could, but Mimi had ushered him up to the sewing-room boudoir before

she had time to escape. She had not seen the boy for two months, and the

change in him startled her. He was thinner, rather hectic, scrupulously

well dressed.

"Why, Joe!" she said, and then: "Won't you sit down?"

He was still rather theatrical. He dramatized himself, as he had that

night the June before when he had asked Sidney to marry him. He stood just

inside the doorway. He offered no conventional greeting whatever; but,

after surveying her briefly, her black gown, the lines around her eyes:-"You're not going back to that place, of course?"


"I--I haven't decided."

"Then somebody's got to decide for you. The thing for you to do is to stay

right here, Sidney. People know you on the Street. Nobody here would ever

accuse you of trying to murder anybody."

In spite of herself, Sidney smiled a little.

"Nobody thinks I tried to murder him. It was a mistake about the

medicines. I didn't do it, Joe."

His love was purely selfish, for he brushed aside her protest as if she had

not spoken.

"You give me the word and I'll go and get your things; I've got a car of my

own now."

"But, Joe, they have only done what they thought was right. Whoever made

it, there was a mistake."

He stared at her incredulously.

"You don't mean that you are going to stand for this sort of thing? Every

time some fool makes a mistake, are they going to blame it on you?"

"Please don't be theatrical. Come in and sit down. I can't talk to you if

you explode like a rocket all the time."

Her matter-of-fact tone had its effect. He advanced into the room, but he

still scorned a chair.

"I guess you've been wondering why you haven't heard from me," he said.

"I've seen you more than you've seen me."

Sidney looked uneasy. The idea of espionage is always repugnant, and to

have a rejected lover always in the offing, as it were, was disconcerting.

"I wish you would be just a little bit sensible, Joe. It's so silly of

you, really. It's not because you care for me; it's really because you

care for yourself."

"You can't look at me and say that, Sid."

He ran his finger around his collar--an old gesture; but the collar was

very loose. He was thin; his neck showed it.

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