Even that first evening he had been jealous.

It had been Joe then. Now it was another and older man, daring,

intelligent, unscrupulous. And this time he had lost her absolutely, lost

her without a struggle to keep her. His only struggle had been with

himself, to remember that he had nothing to offer but failure.

"Do you know," said Sidney suddenly, "that it is almost a year since that

night you came up the Street, and I was here on the steps?"

"That's a fact, isn't it!" He managed to get some surprise into his voice.

"How Joe objected to your coming! Poor Joe!"

"Do you ever see him?"


"Hardly ever now. I think he hates me."


"Because--well, you know, K. Why do men always hate a woman who just

happens not to love them?"

"I don't believe they do. It would be much better for them if they could.

As a matter of fact, there are poor devils who go through life trying to do

that very thing, and failing."

Sidney's eyes were on the tall house across. It was Dr. Ed's evening

office hour, and through the open window she could see a line of people

waiting their turn. They sat immobile, inert, doggedly patient, until the

opening of the back office door promoted them all one chair toward the


"I shall be just across the Street," she said at last. "Nearer than I am

at the hospital."

"You will be much farther away. You will be married."

"But we will still be friends, K.?"

Her voice was anxious, a little puzzled. She was often puzzled with him.

"Of course."

But, after another silence, he astounded her. She had fallen into the way

of thinking of him as always belonging to the house, even, in a sense,

belonging to her. And now-"Shall you mind very much if I tell you that I am thinking of going away?"


"My dear child, you do not need a roomer here any more. I have always

received infinitely more than I have paid for, even in the small services I

have been able to render. Your Aunt Harriet is prosperous. You are away,

and some day you are going to be married. Don't you see--I am not needed?"

"That does not mean you are not wanted."

"I shall not go far. I'll always be near enough, so that I can see you"--he

changed this hastily--"so that we can still meet and talk things over. Old

friends ought to be like that, not too near, but to be turned on when

needed, like a tap."

Most Popular