“I think,” said John, huskily, “she has ... some kind of an ideal up her sleeve. And I don’t fill the bill. Imagination, you know. A—a sort of Sir Walter Raleigh business. Remember how she was always sort of dotty on Sir Walter Raleigh? An ideal, don’t you know”; Johnny rambled on: “Girls are that way. Only Edith’s the kind that sticks to things.”
“‘Try, try again,’” said Maurice, mechanically; but his blood suddenly pounded in his ears.
“I’m going to,” Johnny said, calmly; and began to talk South America. Indeed, he talked so long that Maurice, catching sight of the clock, exclaimed that he would have to run!
“Johnny, get Eleanor on the wire, will you; at Mrs. Newbolt’s, and tell her I’d have called her up, but I got delayed, and had to leg it to catch the train? Or maybe you wouldn’t mind going round there, and walking home with her?”
“Glad to,” said Johnny.
When Maurice, swinging on to the last platform of the last Pullman, was able to sit down in his section, he was absorbed in Johnny Bennett’s affairs. “What did he mean by saying that? Did he mean—” Johnny’s enigmatical words rang in his ears; “I said to ’try again; nobody was cutting him out.’ And he said ’She has some kind of an ideal up her sleeve.’ ... ‘A Sir Walter Raleigh business’ ...”
Johnny Bennett, walking toward Mrs. Newbolt’s, was also thinking, in his calm way, of just what he had said there by Maurice’s fireside. “Of course he doesn’t see why she hasn’t fallen in love with anybody else. Any decent fellow would be stupid about that sort of thing. But it’s been that way ever since she was a child. And I’ve loved her ever since then, too. All the same, I’ll only sign up for a year. Then I’ll make another stab at it ...”
When he rang Mrs. Newbolt’s doorbell, and was told that Eleanor had not been there, he was perplexed. “I must have misunderstood Maurice,” he thought.
Eleanor had no intention of going to Mrs. Newbolt’s. “She’d talk Edith to me!” she said to herself; “I can’t understand why she likes her!” Instead of dining with her aunt, she meant to walk about the streets until she was sure that Maurice had started for the train; then she would go back to her own house. So she wandered down the avenue until, tired of looking with unseeing eyes into shop windows, it occurred to her to go into the park; there, on a bench on one of the unfrequented paths, she sat down, hoping that no one would recognize her; it was cold, and she shivered and looked at her watch. Only six o’clock! It would be two hours before Maurice would leave the house for the station. It seemed absurd to be here in the dampness of the March evening; but she couldn’t go home and get into any discussion with him; she might burst out again about Edith!—which always made him angry. She wished that she had not told