He turned and went heavily into the little house.

Christine called to him from her little balcony:-"I thought I heard your step outside. Have you time to come out?"

K. went through the parlor and stood in the long window. His steady eyes

looked down at her.

"I see very little of you now," she complained. And, when he did not reply

immediately: "Have you made any definite plans, K.?"

"I shall do Max's work until he is able to take hold again. After that--"

"You will go away?"

"I think so. I am getting a good many letters, one way and another. I

suppose, now I'm back in harness, I'll stay. My old place is closed. I'd


go back there--they want me. But it seems so futile, Christine, to leave

as I did, because I felt that I had no right to go on as things were; and

now to crawl back on the strength of having had my hand forced, and to take

up things again, not knowing that I've a bit more right to do it than when

I left!"

"I went to see Max yesterday. You know what he thinks about all that."

He took an uneasy turn up and down the balcony.

"But who?" he demanded. "Who would do such a thing? I tell you,

Christine, it isn't possible."

She did not pursue the subject. Her thoughts had flown ahead to the little

house without K., to days without his steps on the stairs or the heavy

creak of his big chair overhead as he dropped into it.

But perhaps it would be better if he went. She had her own life to live.

She had no expectation of happiness, but, somehow or other, she must build

on the shaky foundation of her marriage a house of life, with resignation

serving for content, perhaps with fear lurking always. That she knew. But

with no active misery. Misery implied affection, and her love for Palmer

was quite dead.

"Sidney will be here this afternoon."

"Good." His tone was non-committal.

"Has it occurred to you, K., that Sidney is not very happy?"

He stopped in front of her.

"She's had a great anxiety."

"She has no anxiety now. Max is doing well."

"Then what is it?"

"I'm not quite sure, but I think I know. She's lost faith in Max, and

she's not like me. I--I knew about Palmer before I married him. I got a

letter. It's all rather hideous--I needn't go into it. I was afraid to

back out; it was just before my wedding. But Sidney has more character

than I have. Max isn't what she thought he was, and I doubt whether she'll

marry him."

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