Reports of its success came back to her from Littleton, who offered to assist his pupil further by practical demonstration of the eternal architectural fitness and unfitness of things—especially the latter—in walks through the streets of Benham. But six times in as many months, however. There was no suggestion of coquetry on either side in these excursions, yet each enjoyed them. Littleton’s own work was beginning to assume definite form, and his visits to Benham became of necessity more frequent; flying trips, but he generally managed to obtain a few words with Selma. He continued to lend her books, and he invited her criticism on the slowly growing church edifice. The responsibility of critic was an absorbing sensation to her, but the stark glibness of tongue which stood her in good stead before the classes of the Institute failed her in his presence—the presence of real knowledge. She wished to praise, but to praise discriminatingly, with the cant of aesthetic appreciation, so that he should believe that she knew. As for the church itself, she was interested in it; it was fine, of course, but that was a secondary consideration compared with her emotions. His predilection in her favor, however, readily made him deaf in regard to her utterances. He scarcely heeded her halting, solemn, counterfeit transcendentalisms; or rather they passed muster as subtle and genuine, so spell bound was he by the Delphic beauty of her criticising expression. It was enough for him to watch her as she stood with her head on one side and the worried archangel look transfiguring her profile. What she said was lost in his reverie as to what she was—what she represented in his contemplation. As she looked upon his handiwork he was able to view it with different eyes, to discern its weaknesses and to gain fresh inspiration from her presence. He felt that it was growing on his hands and that he should be proud of it, and though, perhaps, he was conscious in his inner soul that she was more to him than another man’s wife should be, he knew too, that no word or look of his had offended against the absent husband.