“Good-by, Una. I’m sorry—” he paused.
“If I was cross—”
“But you weren’t. I shouldn’t have laughed.”
“I think I like you better when you laugh than when—when you’re ’bottled up’.”
“But I mustn’t laugh at you. I didn’t mean to. I just—couldn’t help. You’ve forgiven me, haven’t you?”
She had taken up her hat and now walked away upstream. Jerry followed.
“Will you really come next year?” he asked. “I—I should like to show you my specimens.”
“Next year! Next year is a long way off. You know, I don’t belong here. I’m only visiting.”
She clambered down into the bed of the stream toward the iron railing. Two of the bars, as he could now see, were bent inward at the bottom.
When she reached the railing she turned and flashed a smile up at him.
“You’d better tell Roger about the broken fence.”
She thrust her net and tin box through the bars and then slipped quickly through the opening.
“Why?” he repeated.
She stood upright and laughed.
“I might come in again.”
Jerry, I think, must have stood looking down at her wistfully. I cannot believe that the psychology of sex made any matter here. Youth merely responded wordlessly to youth. Had she been a boy it would have been the same. But the girl was clever.
“I think I will,” she said gayly. “It looks very pretty from out here.”
“I—I can’t invite you,” said Jerry. “I should like to, but I—I can’t.”
“I could come without being invited,” she laughed.
“But you wouldn’t, would you?”
“I might. I didn’t hurt you, did I?”
“No,” he laughed.
“Then I don’t see what harm it would do. I’m coming.”
“I’m coming tomorrow.”
No reply. This was really stoical of Jerry.
“And Jerry—” she called.
“I think you’re—you’re sweet.”
There was a rustle among the leaves and she was gone.
Thus did the serpent enter our garden.
THE MINX RETURNS
That afternoon when Jerry returned to the Manor he gave me a superficial account of the adventure—so superficial and told with such carelessness that I was not really alarmed. The second conversation in the evening after dinner aroused my curiosity but not my suspicion. I was not in the habit of mistrusting Jerry. The intrusion of the stranger was an accident, not likely to occur again. It was only after our discussion had taken many turns and curiously enough had always come back to the pert intruder that I realized that Jerry’s interest had really been aroused. Late at night over our evening