Jerry’s destiny was indeed in the lap of the gods. Whatever may have been my hope, during his visit to the Manor, of opening his eyes, I now confessed myself utterly at a loss. He was dipping life up by the ladle-full and yet curiously enough thus far had missed the vital, the significant fact of existence. I supposed that it was because the history of his early years was known to but few and that the men with whom he came into contact, nice enough fellows at the clubs, friends of Jack Ballard, had taken his worldliness for granted. He had missed the filthy story perhaps, or if he had heard it, had ignored its point and turned away to topics he understood. Business, too, had taken some of his time and Marcia had taken more. The clubs, I had inferred, had not greatly interested him. Flynn, his other crony, was no scandal-monger and the habits of the years at Horsham Manor would still be strong with him at the gymnasium. As I have said before, Jerry hadn’t the kind of a mind to absorb what did not interest him.
It must be obvious, however, that I was greatly concerned over Jerry’s venture into pugilism. I tried to view the Great Experiment as from a great distance, as across a space of time looking forward to the hour when Jerry would emerge scatheless from all his tests both material and spiritual. But Jerry’s personality, his thoughts, his sensibilities bulked too large. There was no room for a perspective. To all intents and purposes I myself was Jerry, thinking his thoughts, tasting his enthusiasms and his regrets. But I think if he had married a street wench or engaged in a conspiracy to blow up the Capitol at Washington I could scarcely have been more perturbed for him than I was at finding how strong was the influence that this girl Marcia exercised upon his actions. His fondness for her was the only flaw I had ever discovered in Jerry’s nature. He could speak of her spirituality as he pleased, but there was another attraction here. I had felt the allure of her personality, a magnetism less mental than physical. Physical, of course, and because incomprehensible to Jerry the more marvelous. I had looked upon the boy as a perfect human animal, forgetting that he was only an animal after all. Marcia, the woman without a heart, whose game was the hearts of others! Bah! No woman without a heart could hold Jerry. If passion danced to him in the mask of a purer thing, Jerry’s honesty would strip off the disguise in time. The danger was not now, but then, and even then perhaps more hers than his.
I waited long for Jack Ballard, but he did not return and so I went out into the streets and walked rapidly for exercise down town in the general direction of Flynn’s Gymnasium over on the East Side, where I proposed to meet Jerry later in the afternoon. I had kept no record of the time and when my appetite advised me that it was the luncheon hour, I looked at my watch. It was two o’clock. I sauntered into a cross street, finding at last a quiet