"There," she said--"I knew it! This house is fatal! They're making an old

woman of you already." Her tone was tragic.

"Miss Lorenz likes the new method, but my personal preference is for the

old way, with the bride's face covered."

He sucked calmly at his dead pipe.

"Katie has a new prescription--recipe--for bread. It has more bread and

fewer air-holes. One cake of yeast--"

Sidney sprang to her feet.

"It's perfectly terrible!" she cried. "Because you rent a room in this

house is no reason why you should give up your personality and


your--intelligence. Not but that it's good for you. But Katie has made

bread without masculine assistance for a good many years, and if Christine

can't decide about her own veil she'd better not get married. Mother says

you water the flowers every evening, and lock up the house before you go to

bed. I--I never meant you to adopt the family!"

K. removed his pipe and gazed earnestly into the bowl.

"Bill Taft has had kittens under the porch," he said. "And the groceryman

has been sending short weight. We've bought scales now, and weigh


"You are evading the question."

"Dear child, I am doing these things because I like to do them. For--for

some time I've been floating, and now I've got a home. Every time I lock up

the windows at night, or cut a picture out of a magazine as a suggestion to

your Aunt Harriet, it's an anchor to windward."

Sidney gazed helplessly at his imperturbable face. He seemed older than

she had recalled him: the hair over his ears was almost white. And yet, he

was just thirty. That was Palmer Howe's age, and Palmer seemed like a boy.

But he held himself more erect than he had in the first days of his

occupancy of the second-floor front.

"And now," he said cheerfully, "what about yourself? You've lost a lot of

illusions, of course, but perhaps you've gained ideals. That's a step."

"Life," observed Sidney, with the wisdom of two weeks out in the world,

"life is a terrible thing, K. We think we've got it, and--it's got us."


"When I think of how simple I used to think it all was! One grew up and

got married, and--and perhaps had children. And when one got very old, one

died. Lately, I've been seeing that life really consists of

exceptions--children who don't grow up, and grown-ups who die before they

are old. And"--this took an effort, but she looked at him squarely--"and

people who have children, but are not married. It all rather hurts."

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