Joe cheered.

"What's his name?"

"K. Le Moyne."


"That's what he said."

Interest in the roomer died away. The boy fell into the ecstasy of content

that always came with Sidney's presence. His inarticulate young soul was

swelling with thoughts that he did not know how to put into words. It was

easy enough to plan conversations with Sidney when he was away from her.

But, at her feet, with her soft skirts touching him as she moved, her eager


face turned to him, he was miserably speechless.

Unexpectedly, Sidney yawned. He was outraged.

"If you're sleepy--"

"Don't be silly. I love having you. I sat up late last night, reading. I

wonder what you think of this: one of the characters in the book I was

reading says that every man who--who cares for a woman leaves his mark on

her! I suppose she tries to become what he thinks she is, for the time

anyhow, and is never just her old self again."

She said "cares for" instead of "loves." It is one of the traditions of

youth to avoid the direct issue in life's greatest game. Perhaps "love" is

left to the fervent vocabulary of the lover. Certainly, as if treading on

dangerous ground, Sidney avoided it.

"Every man! How many men are supposed to care for a woman, anyhow?"

"Well, there's the boy who--likes her when they're both young."

A bit of innocent mischief this, but Joe straightened.

"Then they both outgrow that foolishness. After that there are usually two

rivals, and she marries one of them--that's three. And--"

"Why do they always outgrow that foolishness?" His voice was unsteady.

"Oh, I don't know. One's ideas change. Anyhow, I'm only telling you what

the book said."

"It's a silly book."

"I don't believe it's true," she confessed. "When I got started I just

read on. I was curious."

More eager than curious, had she only known. She was fairly vibrant with

the zest of living. Sitting on the steps of the little brick house, her

busy mind was carrying her on to where, beyond the Street, with its dingy

lamps and blossoming ailanthus, lay the world that was some day to lie to

her hand. Not ambition called her, but life.

The boy was different. Where her future lay visualized before her, heroic

deeds, great ambitions, wide charity, he planned years with her, selfish,

contented years. As different as smug, satisfied summer from visionary,

palpitating spring, he was for her--but she was for all the world.

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