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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 184 pages of information about A Man and a Woman.

“The fact is,” said he, “I had almost forgotten that I was not as free as other men.  I have not regulated my course by my real condition.  I’ve drifted, and there have been happenings, as you know well.  There’s Mrs. Gorse.  I’ve never concealed anything.  Those who know me at all well know my relationships, but I imagine that I have been deceiving myself.  I am not a free agent—­though I will be.  It’s not right as it is.”

“And when am I to see this woman who has interested you, and restored the old colors to the rainbow?  You will allow me to admire her, I suppose, if only from a distance?”

“Oh, yes!  Come with me to the Laffins’ to-morrow night.  She’ll be there, I learned, and I said I was going to be there too.  Come with me.  Of course, you understand that if she smiles on you at all, or if you appear to have produced a favorable impression upon her, I shall assassinate you on our way home.”

I told him that I thought my general appearance and style of conversation would preserve me from the danger, and that I would take the risk and accompany him.

The next night I met Jean Cornish.  We were destined to become very well acquainted.

CHAPTER XVIII.

The woman.

  Only a little brown woman she. 
  Man of the world and profligate he,
  Hard and conscienceless, cynical, yet,
  Somehow, when he and the woman met,
  He learned what other there is in life
  Than passion-feeding and careless strife. 
  There came resolve and a sense of shame,
  For she made as his motto but “Faith and fame.”

  The world is foolish:  we cover truth;
  We’re barred by the gates that we built in youth. 
  Two were they surely, and two might stay,
  But she turned him into the better way;
  His thoughts were purified even when
  He chafed and raged at the might-have-been;
  He learned that living is not a whim,
  For the soul in her entered into him.

  He fights, as others, to win or fall,
  And the spell of the Woman is over all. 
  Bravely they battle in their degree,
  For—­“The woman I love shall be proud of me!”
  And the man and woman, the one in heart,
  May be buried together or hurled apart,
  But the strong will battle in his degree,
  For—­“The woman I love shall be proud of me!”

There were men and women, and music and flowers, and some of the people had intelligence, and I drifted about at the Laffins’ party, and rather enjoyed myself.  Of course I wanted to see the woman a fancy for whom had gripped Harlson so hardly.  I had forgotten about her until, with a pleasant and clever person upon my arm, I had found something to eat and had come upstairs again, and released her to another.  I wandered into an adjacent room, and there ran upon Harlson among a group.  I was presented to Miss Cornish.

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