K. Le Moyne had wakened early that first morning in his new quarters. When

he sat up and yawned, it was to see his worn cravat disappearing with

vigorous tugs under the bureau. He rescued it, gently but firmly.

"You and I, Reginald," he apostrophized the bureau, "will have to come to

an understanding. What I leave on the floor you may have, but what blows

down is not to be touched."

Because he was young and very strong, he wakened to a certain lightness of

spirit. The morning sun had always called him to a new day, and the sun

was shining. But he grew depressed as he prepared for the office. He told

himself savagely, as he put on his shabby clothing, that, having sought for


peace and now found it, he was an ass for resenting it. The trouble was,

of course, that he came of fighting stock: soldiers and explorers, even a

gentleman adventurer or two, had been his forefather. He loathed peace

with a deadly loathing.

Having given up everything else, K. Le Moyne had also given up the love of

woman. That, of course, is figurative. He had been too busy for women;

and now he was too idle. A small part of his brain added figures in the

office of a gas company daily, for the sum of two dollars and fifty cents

per eight-hour working day. But the real K. Le Moyne that had dreamed

dreams, had nothing to do with the figures, but sat somewhere in his head

and mocked him as he worked at his task.

"Time's going by, and here you are!" mocked the real person--who was, of

course, not K. Le Moyne at all. "You're the hell of a lot of use, aren't

you? Two and two are four and three are seven--take off the discount.

That's right. It's a man's work, isn't it?"

"Somebody's got to do this sort of thing," protested the small part of his

brain that earned the two-fifty per working day. "And it's a great

anaesthetic. He can't think when he's doing it. There's something

practical about figures, and--rational."

He dressed quickly, ascertaining that he had enough money to buy a

five-dollar ticket at Mrs. McKee's; and, having given up the love of woman

with other things, he was careful not to look about for Sidney on his way.

He breakfasted at Mrs. McKee's, and was initiated into the mystery of the

ticket punch. The food was rather good, certainly plentiful; and even his

squeamish morning appetite could find no fault with the self-respecting

tidiness of the place. Tillie proved to be neat and austere. He fancied

it would not be pleasant to be very late for one's meals--in fact, Sidney

had hinted as much. Some of the "mealers"--the Street's name for

them--ventured on various small familiarities of speech with Tillie. K. Le

Moyne himself was scrupulously polite, but reserved. He was determined not

to let the Street encroach on his wretchedness. Because he had come to

live there was no reason why it should adopt him. But he was very polite.

When the deaf-and-dumb book agent wrote something on a pencil pad and

pushed it toward him, he replied in kind.

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