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need. He wanted to know how these they seemed in the main, self-respecting; things happened.
he knew they were respected. "Sure, I do.
‘Kathleen The heat increased, and the apartment Mavourneen' to me, and thin he said got rather stuffy as the season advanced. would I be the pride of his heart forever, He had a revulsion of feeling about the and I agreed to it."
boys as his soul worked on through its “Do the young people in Ireland do new-found torture. Mrs. Gregory and much spooning, Mrs. G.? I mean regular the dear old flat, the boys and their evesweethearting, before they're engaged or nings together, meant more to him; even anything."
his breakfasts with Kennedy were lingered “They do and thin ag'in they don't.” over feverishly, though the whole atmo
"You surprise me,” said Billy. "Whin sphere was less comfortable in midsummer. do they, an' whin don't they?"
He had money enough to support a wife "The byes an' the gurrls has a bit of a "gingerly.” They could live out in the Autter together till the time o' the mating, "young married people's quarter and have an' thin—"
a maid." If women's clothes did n't cost “Oh, I know all about thin. It 's be- too darn much they could have a runfore thin that I am collecting statistics." about.
“Oh, they do the right thing by each He managed to see Evelyn mostly in other in Ireland,” Mrs. Gregory said. public. He took her about a good deal,
"Well, how in the name of Jehoshaphat and when they were alone together he is anybody ever going to find out what kissed her and held her hand. He figured the right thing is?” Billy cried from the it out that if they could get it on a “spoondepths of his being.
Then he rose,
ing basis” he might taper it off until they stretched himself, and chucked the house- were nicely Platonic, though he had n't keeper under her triple chin. “Oh, wisha, much hopes of this. “Play the game, wurra!” he cried. “God be with me, a was his motto. He was going to play it lone old creature on a stick! And like- carefully if he could; but, anyhow, he was wise damn! I am now going to the office going to stay in. That much he had deand explain that you set the house afire, cided. Evelyn was a puzzle to him. She and I was detained putting it out for was n't as demonstrative as she had been
at first, but she was very, very sweet and He knew now that he must n't stay very docile. She seemed to have lost away from Evelyn. He must take her weight and color. That was his fault,out, do things with her, not seem to be he was making her unhappy,-but, maybe avoiding her. He must play the game, - he hoped against hope that she would and not shirk. If he got in too deep, he
get over it. must marry her. He must do the honor- It was after two months of this backing able thing; but how deep was too deep, and filling on his part that the climax was and how did you know when you got precipitated. Edith telephoned him that there? What did the other fellows do in Evelyn had typhoid fever, and was going such circumstances ? He worked through taken to the hospital. She wanted the office routine, dictating letters, attend- to see him before she went. ing conferences, making estimates, with He was alone in the dining-room- the his eye on his associates. How did these telephone was there-when he got this men live their lives? What was the code message. Mrs. Gregory found him there, they had evolved, and how in the deuce his elbows on the table, and his hands had they evolved it? Not every man mar- buried in them. ried every girl he kissed. There must be "What is it, m' darlint?" she said, with a large proportion of men among the men a motherly arm on his shoulder. "Is it he knew that had made love to a good trouble you 're in? Is it trouble?" many girls, and yet they all seemed, or "It's trouble I 'm in, and it's joy, too,"
he said. "I'm goin' to be married. "I wanted to be sure." That 's joy, of course, but the girl I 'm "Bless you for telling me now," Billy going to marry is going to be taken to the said, "for your courage and your strength hospital this afternoon."
and your sweetness !" “An' that sure is trouble. The gurrl "It does n't hurt you too much?” you 're going to marry now; she'll get "It hurts a good deal,” he said truthbetter all right, she 'll get better. And fully. “I thought that you cared.” sure and I hope she 's a sweet one, and "I tried to care, and then I found that worthy of a nice boy like you."
I could n't. I tried to-to play the
"I 'm sure I hope so, too,” said Billy, game out, you know, as you 're always earnestly and rather forlornly. He was saying one ought to." still thinking of himself, he noted, and a "Am I?" said Billy. Then he smiled. man who could think of himself at such a "There are some games,” he said, “where crisis was certainly not fit to live. Still, a show-down is really quite a shock to he hoped she was worthy of him, just as There are lots of things,” he went Mrs. Gregory had said.
on after a moment, “that I should like to He found Evelyn in a pale-blue house- give myself the luxury of saying to you. dress, all ruffles and lacework. At sight of I'd like to explain at great length and in her his heart swelled. Poor baby! poor detail what a compound, seven-ringed, darling! poor little girl! How she had prize-worm kind of two-spot I feel like, suffered! Of course you could n't actually and what a beauty I think you are, and get typhoid from neglect or even from how I respect and admire you from the heartbreak, but there was such a thing as depths of my moth-eaten soul; but time is getting run down, and getting yourself in pressing, and you 've got to go and have a susceptible condition. Play the game. your typhoid fever, and I 've got to go That meant, accept your responsibilities as and possess my soul in patience while you they came. This was his responsibility; 're having it, and pray to whatever gods he had n't been sure of that before, but there be for your quick recovery and my now he was sure.
ultimate regeneration. I must n't tire “Evelyn,” he said as he held her hand you any longer. Would you kiss me once in his—“Evelyn, will you marry me?” before you go, dear?”
"Billy,” she said, “that was what I sent She kissed him. for you for. I've been nearly crazy. You “And there 's a question I want to ask will have to forgive me. The doctor says
you, the time-honored question that alI 've got a very light case, but you never ways comes along about now in the magacan tell. If I died, and you did n't know zine stories - is there anybody else?” how I felt, it would be cheating you ter- “Oh, no, Billy dear! No, there is n't.”' ribly. I 'm not really in love with you, "That 's all right, then. Now, don't
' Billy, in the way that makes marriage. I you worry; you 'll never have to think of thought I was at first, it was all so new all this truck again- unless, you know, and so beautiful; but we are n't close sometime – ” enough to each other. If we have
of "I'd thought of that," she said. "Of the same thoughts, we don't have them
we might come to care; but I together. It 's all been a mistake and a don't have to think about it now, Billy, failure. If you had been one of the other do I?" boys, I would n't have been so sure that "You certainly don't,” Billy said ; “but you meant it; but I knew that you I do, and God knows I consider myself were n't like the rest, that you meant it, lucky to have the chance. Good-by, dear.” that all this while you 've been expecting me to marry you. I can't, Billy; I can't.” It was two days later before Mrs. Greg
"Why did n't you tell me before?” he ory found him alone again. asked her.
spending his Saturday half-holiday in the
house, smoking and reading, but mostly well, several things. I guess almost everydoing accounts, or figuring on something body is pretty decent about those things that evidently interested him deeply. when you come right down to it. There
"I hope that your swateheart is after is probably only one real worm in this getting better, Mr. Billy," she said. apartment, and I sha'n't tell you his name,
"She is that," said Billy. "In fact, because from now on he's going to be a they don't think she has typhoid at all. genuine caterpillar butterfly. Besides, I They 'll be able to tell in a day or so, but need your good opinion to carry me now she's merely under suspicion, and through, so I shall not undeceive you in resting up. If she's got it, why, it 's so your estimate of my character; but there light they can't tell it.”
is one thing I should like to put myself "Will you be after being married when on record as conveying to you. You asked she 's out, Mr. Billy ?”
me if the young lady of my choice was "Well, not as soon as that, Mrs. G. worthy of me. I've discovered she is. There are several little formalities to be Now, is n't that gratifying?” gone through with before that event- “It sure is, Mr. Billy.” She hesitated mere technicalities, you know.”
at the door, the miniature feather-duster "But you think it 'll be soon?"
that she had been brandishing tickling her "It 'll be soon, Mrs. G., or my name triple chin unheedingly. “I 'll be after is n't Yours Hectically."
losing you, thin, from the flat here. I 'll “You 're that terrible in love?"
be missing you with your jokes and your "Your diagnosis is a credit to you.” goings-on. I 'll be missing you.”
"Sure, you're the nice steady young "Mrs. G.”- Billy looked up from his fellow, with his heart in the right place, figuring solemnly,"did you imagine for
, not like thim other two. Sure, did n't one little minute that I'd leave you here you think I saw them, on the night o' the alone with two unscrupulous characters party, sparking them girls that was here, like Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Kellogg? I and Hiven only knowing their intentions." would n't think of such a thing. When
"Well, if Heaven does, it 's all right," I 'm married, you go with me. There's Billy said ; “besides, you can trust 'em. only one little drawback to that plan, but Almost any man will play the game de- that will, I think, be easily overcome,” cently whether he intends to or not. It "And what is that, sor?" just depends on the way things turn, and “The girl does n't realize yet that we whether you
're a skunk or not-and- 're going to be married."