"Twenty-three, almost."

"Exactly. You are a man, and you are acting like a bad boy. It's a

disappointment to me. It's more than that to Sidney."

"Much she cares! She's going to marry Wilson, isn't she?"

"There is no announcement of any engagement."

"She is, and you know it. Well, she'll be happy--not! If I'd go to her

to-night and tell her what I know, she'd never see him again." The idea,

thus born in his overwrought brain, obsessed him. He returned to it again

and again. Le Moyne was uneasy. He was not certain that the boy's

statement had any basis in fact. His single determination was to save


Sidney from any pain.

When Joe suddenly announced his inclination to go out into the country

after all, he suspected a ruse to get rid of him, and insisted on going

along. Joe consented grudgingly.

"Car's at Bailey's garage," he said sullenly. "I don't know when I'll get


"That won't matter." K.'s tone was cheerful. "I'm not sleeping, anyhow."

That passed unnoticed until they were on the highroad, with the car running

smoothly between yellowing fields of wheat. Then:-"So you've got it too!" he said. "We're a fine pair of fools. We'd both be

better off if I sent the car over a bank."

He gave the wheel a reckless twist, and Le Moyne called him to time


They had supper at the White Springs Hotel--not on the terrace, but in the

little room where Carlotta and Wilson had taken their first meal together.

K. ordered beer for them both, and Joe submitted with bad grace.

But the meal cheered and steadied him. K. found him more amenable to

reason, and, gaining his confidence, learned of his desire to leave the


"I'm stuck here," he said. "I'm the only one, and mother yells blue murder

when I talk about it. I want to go to Cuba. My uncle owns a farm down


"Perhaps I can talk your mother over. I've been there."

Joe was all interest. His dilated pupils became more normal, his restless

hands grew quiet. K.'s even voice, the picture he drew of life on the

island, the stillness of the little hotel in its mid-week dullness, seemed

to quiet the boy's tortured nerves. He was nearer to peace than he had

been for many days. But he smoked incessantly, lighting one cigarette from


At ten o'clock he left K. and went for the car. He paused for a moment,

rather sheepishly, by K.'s chair.

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