She made no reply, but opened the door into the cool and, shaded little

parlor. He followed her in and closed the door behind him.

"I couldn't help it. I know I promised."

"Then she--?"

"She's still living. Playing with paper dolls--that's the latest."

Tillie sat down suddenly on one of the stiff chairs. Her lips were as

white as her face.

"I thought, when I saw you--"

"I was afraid you'd think that."

Neither spoke for a moment. Tillie's hands twisted nervously in her lap.


Mr. Schwitter's eyes were fixed on the window, which looked back on the

McKee yard.

"That spiraea back there's not looking very good. If you'll save the cigar

butts around here and put them in water, and spray it, you'll kill the


Tillie found speech at last.

"I don't know why you come around bothering me," she said dully. "I've been

getting along all right; now you come and upset everything."

Mr. Schwitter rose and took a step toward her.

"Well, I'll tell you why I came. Look at me. I ain't getting any younger,

am I? Time's going on, and I'm wanting you all the time. And what am I

getting? What've I got out of life, anyhow? I'm lonely, Tillie!"

"What's that got to do with me?"

"You're lonely, too, ain't you?"

"Me? I haven't got time to be. And, anyhow, there's always a crowd here."

"You can be lonely in a crowd, and I guess--is there any one around here

you like better than me?"

"Oh, what's the use!" cried poor Tillie. "We can talk our heads off and

not get anywhere. You've got a wife living, and, unless you intend to do

away with her, I guess that's all there is to it."

"Is that all, Tillie? Haven't you got a right to be happy?"

She was quick of wit, and she read his tone as well as his words.

"You get out of here--and get out quick!"

She had jumped to her feet; but he only looked at her with understanding


"I know," he said. "That's the way I thought of it at first. Maybe I've

just got used to the idea, but it doesn't seem so bad to me now. Here are

you, drudging for other people when you ought to have a place all your

own--and not gettin' younger any more than I am. Here's both of us lonely.

I'd be a good husband to you, Till--because, whatever it'd be in law, I'd

be your husband before God."

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