Quite suddenly K. felt that she thought him too old for such frivolity of

dress. It put him on his mettle.

"How old do you think I am, Miss Sidney?"

She considered, giving him, after her kindly way, the benefit of the doubt.

"Not over forty, I'm sure."

"I'm almost thirty. It is middle age, of course, but it is not senility."

She was genuinely surprised, almost disturbed.

"Perhaps we'd better not tell mother," she said. "You don't mind being

thought older?"

"Not at all."


Clearly the subject of his years did not interest her vitally, for she

harked back to the grass stains.

"I'm afraid you're not saving, as you promised. Those are new clothes,

aren't they?"

"No, indeed. Bought years ago in England--the coat in London, the

trousers in Bath, on a motor tour. Cost something like twelve shillings.

Awfully cheap. They wear them for cricket."

That was a wrong move, of course. Sidney must hear about England; and she

marveled politely, in view of his poverty, about his being there. Poor Le

Moyne floundered in a sea of mendacity, rose to a truth here and there,

clutched at luncheon, and achieved safety at last.

"To think," said Sidney, "that you have really been across the ocean! I

never knew but one person who had been abroad. It is Dr. Max Wilson."

Back again to Dr. Max! Le Moyne, unpacking sandwiches from a basket, was

aroused by a sheer resentment to an indiscretion.

"You like this Wilson chap pretty well, don't you?"

"What do you mean?"

"You talk about him rather a lot."

This was sheer recklessness, of course. He expected fury, annihilation.

He did not look up, but busied himself with the luncheon. When the silence

grew oppressive, he ventured to glance toward her. She was leaning

forward, her chin cupped in her palms, staring out over the valley that

stretched at their feet.

"Don't speak to me for a minute or two," she said. "I'm thinking over what

you have just said."

Manlike, having raised the issue, K. would have given much to evade it.

Not that he had owned himself in love with Sidney. Love was not for him.

But into his loneliness and despair the girl had came like a ray of light.

She typified that youth and hope that he had felt slipping away from him.

Through her clear eyes he was beginning to see a new world. Lose her he

must, and that he knew; but not this way.

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