"Then why haven't you been to see me? If I have done anything--" Her voice

was a-tingle with virtue and outraged friendship.

"You haven't done anything but--show me where I get off."

He sat down on the edge of the balcony and stared out blankly.

"If that's the way you feel about it--"

"I'm not blaming you. I was a fool to think you'd ever care about me. I

don't know that I feel so bad--about the thing. I've been around seeing

some other girls, and I notice they're glad to see me, and treat me right,

too." There was boyish bravado in his voice. "But what makes me sick is

to have everyone saying you've jilted me."


"Good gracious! Why, Joe, I never promised."

"Well, we look at it in different ways; that's all. I took it for a


Then suddenly all his carefully conserved indifference fled. He bent

forward quickly and, catching her hand, held it against his lips.

"I'm crazy about you, Sidney. That's the truth. I wish I could die!"

The cat, finding no active antagonism, sprang up on the balcony and rubbed

against the boy's quivering shoulders; a breath of air stroked the

morning-glory vine like the touch of a friendly hand. Sidney, facing for

the first time the enigma of love and despair sat, rather frightened, in

her chair.

"You don't mean that!"

"I mean it, all right. If it wasn't for the folks, I'd jump in the river.

I lied when I said I'd been to see other girls. What do I want with other

girls? I want you!"

"I'm not worth all that."

"No girl's worth what I've been going through," he retorted bitterly. "But

that doesn't help any. I don't eat; I don't sleep--I'm afraid sometimes of

the way I feel. When I saw you at the White Springs with that roomer


"Ah! You were there!"

"If I'd had a gun I'd have killed him. I thought--" So far, out of sheer

pity, she had left her hand in his. Now she drew it away.

"This is wild, silly talk. You'll be sorry to-morrow."

"It's the truth," doggedly.

But he made a clutch at his self-respect. He was acting like a crazy boy,

and he was a man, all of twenty-two!

"When are you going to the hospital?"


"Is that Wilson's hospital?"


Alas for his resolve! The red haze of jealousy came again. "You'll be

seeing him every day, I suppose."

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