Maraton glanced up. Selingman was leaning forward and his eyes were fixed steadily upon his friend.
“I was afraid, just a little afraid,” he said slowly, “of the other woman. I am glad she didn’t count enough. Women are the very devil sometimes when they come between us and the right thing!”
Selingman came into the restaurant with a huge rose in his buttonhole and another bunch of flowers—carnations this time—in his hands. He made his way to the little round table where Julia and Aaron were seated.
“For you, Miss Julia,” he declared, depositing them by her side. “Pin them in the front of your frock. Drink wine to-night. Be gay. Let us see pink, also, in your cheeks. It is a great evening, this. Maraton is here?”
“Not yet,” Julia answered, smiling.
Selingman sat down between them. He gave a lengthy order to a waiter; then he turned abruptly to Julia.
“He will keep to it, you think? This time you believe that he has made up his mind?”
“I do,” she asserted vigorously.
“What is he made of, that man?” Selingman continued, sipping the Vermouth which he had just ordered. “He makes love to you, eh? Ach! never mind your brother. For a man like Maraton, what does it matter? You are of the right stuff. You would be proud.”
She looked steadily out of the restaurant.
“I have been a worker,” she said, “in a clothing factory since I was old enough to stand up, and what little time I have had to spare, I have spent in study, in trying to fit myself for the fight against those things that you and I and all of us know of. There has been no opportunity,” she went on, more slowly, “I have not allowed myself—”
“Ah, but it comes—it must come!” Selingman interrupted. “You have the instinct—I am sure of that. Use your power a little. It will be for his good. Every man who neglects his passions, weakens. You have the gifts, Julia. I tell you that—I, Selingman, who know much about woman and more about love and life. You’ve felt it, too, yourself sometimes in the quiet hours. Haven’t you lain in your bed with your eyes wide open, and seen the ceiling roll away and the skies lean down, and felt the thoughts come stealing into