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the owner of the voice, even if collared, would probably be up to getting out of his trouble; and when he turned in, he was still smiling.

CHAPTER VII

DR. GURNET's house was like an eye, or a pair of super-vigilant eyes, stationed between Davos Dorf and Davos Platz.

It stood, a small brown chalet, perched high above the lake. There was nothing on either side of it but the snow, the sunshine, and the sense of its vigilance; inside, from floor to ceiling, there were neat little cases with the number of the year, and in each year there was a complete, exhaustive, and entertaining history of those who wintered, unaware of its completion and entertainment, in either of the villages. No eye but his own saw these documents, but no secret policeman ever so controlled the inner workings of a culprit's mind. There was nothing in Dr. Gurnet himself that led one to believe in his piercing quality. He was a stout little man, with a high-domed, bald head, long arms, short legs, and whitish blue eyes which had the quality of taking in everything they saw without giving anything out.

Sometimes they twinkled, but the twinkle was in most cases for his own consumption; he disinfected even his jokes so that they were never catching. The consulting-room contained no medical books. There were two book-shelves, on one side psychology from the physical point of view, and in the other book-case psychology as understood by the leading lights of the Catholic religion.

Dr. Gurnet was fond of explaining to his more intelligent patients that here you had the two points of view.

"Psychology is like alcohol," he observed: "you may have it with soda-water or without. Religion is the soda-water." Two tiger-skins lay on the floor. Dr. Gurnet was a most excellent shot. He was too curious for fear, though he always asserted that he disliked danger, and took every precaution to avoid it, excepting, of course, giving up the thing which he had

set out to do. But it was a fact that his favorites among his patients were, as a rule, those who loved danger for its own sake without curiosity and without fear.

He saw at a glance that Winn belonged to this category. Names were like pocket electric lamps to Dr. Gurnet. He switched them on and off to illuminate the dark places of the earth. He held Winn's card in his hand, and recalled that he had known a former colonel of his regiment.

"A very distinguished officer," he remarked, "of a very distinguished regiment. Probably perfectly unknown in England. England has a preference for worthless men while they live and a tenderness for them after they are dead unless corrected by other nations. It is an odd thing to me that men like Colonel Travers and yourself, for instance, care to give up your lives to an empire that is like a badly deranged stomach with a craving for unhealthy objects."

"We have n't got to think about it," said Winn. "We keep the corner we are in quiet."

"Yes," said Dr. Gurnet, sympathetically, "I know; but I think it would be better if you had to think about it. Perhaps it would n't be necessary to keep things quiet if they were more thoroughly exposed to thought."

Winn's attention wandered to the tigerskins.

"Did you bag those fellows yourself?" he asked. Dr. Gurnet smilingly agreed. After this Winn did n't so much mind having his chest examined.

But the examination of his chest, though a long and singularly thorough operation, seemed to Dr. Gurnet a mere bead strung on an extended necklace. He had n't any idea, as the London specialist had had, that Winn could only have one organ and one interest. He came upon him with the effect of bouncing out from behind a screen with a series of funny, flat little questions. Sometimes Winn thought he was going to be angry with him, but he never was. There was a blithe impersonal touch in Dr. Gurnet, a

smiling willingness to look on private histories as of less importance than last year's newspapers. It was as if he airily explained to his patients that really they had better put any facts there were on the files, and let the housemaid use the rest for the kitchen fire; and he required very little on Winn's part. From a series of reluctant monosyllables he built up a picturesque and reliable structure of his new patient's life. They were n't by any means all physical questions. He wanted to know if Winn knew German. Winn said he did n't, and added that he did n't like Germans.

"Then you should take some pains to understand them," observed Dr. Gurnet. "Not to understand the language of an enemy is the first step toward defeat. Why, it is even necessary sometimes to understand one's friends."

Winn said that he had a friend he understood perfectly; his name was Lionel Drummond.

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"I know him through and through, he explained; "that 's why I trust him." Dr. Gurnet looked interested, but not convinced.

"Ah," he said, "personally I should n't trust any man till he was dead. You know where you are then, you know. Before that one prophesies. By the by, are you married?" Dr. Gurnet did not raise his eyes at this question, but before Winn's leaden "Yes" had answered him he had written on the case paper, "Unhappy domestic life."

"And-er-your wife 's not here with you?" Dr. Gurnet suavely continued. Winn thought himself non-committal when he confined himself to saying:

"No; she 's in England with my boy." He was as non-committal for Dr. Gurnet as if he had been a wild elephant. He admitted Peter with a change of voice, and asked eagerly if things with lungs were hereditary or catching?

"Not at present in your case," Dr. Gurnet informed him. "By the by, you 'll get better, you know. You 're a little. too old to cure, but you 'll patch up."

"What does that mean?" Winn de

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cats'-meat hack?"

Dr. Gurnet shook his head.

"You can go back to your regiment," he said, "and do anything you like bar pig-sticking and polo in a year's time. That is to say, if you do as you are told for that year and will have the kindness to remember that, if you do not, I am not responsible, nor shall I be in any great degree inconsolable. I am here like a sign-post; my part of the business is to point the road. I really don't care if you follow it or not; but I should be desolate, of course, if you followed it and did n't arrive. This, however, has not yet occurred to me.

"You will be out of doors nine hours a day, and kindly fill in this card for me. You may skate, but not skee or toboggan, nor take more than four hours' active exercise out of the twenty-four. In a month's time I shall be pleased to see you. Remember about the German and—er-do you ever flirt?"

Winn stared ominously.

"Flirt? No," he said. "Why the devil should I?"

Dr. Gurnet gave a peculiar little smile, half quizzical and half kindly.

"Well," he said, "I sometimes recommend it to my patients in order that they may avoid the intenser application known. as falling in love; or in cases like your own, for instance, when a considerable amount of beneficial cheerfulness may be arrived at by a careful juxtaposition of the sexes. You follow me?"

"No, hanged if I do," said Winn. "I've told you I 'm married, have n't I? Besides, I dislike women."

"Ah, there perhaps we may be more in agreement than you imagine," said Dr. Gurnet, increasing his kindly smile. "But I must continue to assure you that this avoidance of what you dislike is a hazardous operation. The study of women at a distance is both amusing and instructive. I grant you that too close personal relations are less so. I have avoided family life most carefully from this consideration, but much may be obtained from

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women without going to extremes. fact, if I may say so, women impart their most favorable attributes solely under these conditions. Good morning."

Winn left the small brown house with a heart that was strangely light. Of course he did n't believe in doctors any more than Sir Peter did, but he found himself believing that he was going to get well.

All the morning he had been moving his mind in slow waves that did not seem like thoughts against the rock of death; but he came away from the tiger-skins and the flickering laughter of Dr. Gurnet's eyes with a comfortable sense of having left all such questions on the door-step. He thought instead of whether it was worth while to go down to the rink before lunch or not.

It was while he was still undecided as to this question that he heard a little shriek of laughter. It ran up the scale like three notes on a flute; he knew in a moment that it was the same laughter he had listened to the night before.

He turned aside and found himself at the bend of a long ice run leading down to the lake. A group of men were standing there, and with one foot on a toboggan, her head flung back, her eyes full of sparkling mischief, was the child. He forgot that he had ever thought her a boy, though she looked on the whole as if she would like to be thought one. Her curly auburn hair was short and very thick, and perched upon it was a round scarlet cap; her mouth was scarlet; her eyes were like Scotch braes, brown and laughing; the curves of her long, delicate lips ran upward; her curving thin, black eyebrows were like question-marks; her chin was tilted upward like the petal of a flower. She was very slim, and wore a very short brown skirt which revealed the slenderest of feet and ankles; a sweater clung to her unformed, lithe little figure. She had an air of pointed sharpness and firmness like a lifted sword. She might have been sixteen, though she was, as a matter of fact, three years older; but she was not so much an age as a sensation-the sensa

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"Don't go and make a fool of yourself, Claire. It's a man's run, not a girl's. I won't have you do it." It was the fatal voice of authority without power.

Across the group her eyes met Winn's; wicked and gay they ran over him and into him. He stuck his hands into his pockets and stared back at her grimly, like a Staines. He was n't going to say anything; only if she had belonged to him he would have stopped her. His eyes said. he could have stopped her; but she did n't belong to him, so he set his square jaw, and gave her his unflinching, indifferent disapproval.

She appeared after this to be unaware of him, and turned to her brother.

"Won't have it?" she said, with a little gurgle of laughter. "Why, how do you suppose you can stop me? There's only

one way of keeping a man's run for men, and that's for girls not to be able to use it-see!"

She slipped her teasing foot off the toboggan, and with an agile twist of her small body sprang face downward on the board. In an instant she was off, lying along it as light as a feather, but holding the runners in a grip of steel. In a moment more she was nothing but a traveling black dot far down the valley, lifting to the banks, swirling lightning swift back into the straights in a series of curves and flashes, till at the end the toboggan, girl and all, swung high into the air, and subsided safely into a snow-drift.

Winn turned and walked away; he was n't going to applaud her. Something burned in his heart, grave and angry, stubborn and very strong. It was as if a strange substance had got into him, and he could n't in the least have said what it It voiced itself for him in his say

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ing to himself, "That girl wants looking after." The men on the bank admired her; there were too many of them, and no woman. He wondered if he should ever see her again. She was curiously vivid to him-brown shoes and stockings, tossed hair, clear eyes. He remembered once going to an opera and being awfully. bored because there was such a lot of stiff music and people bawling about; only on the stage there had been a girl lying in the middle of a ring of flames. She 'd showed up uncommonly well, rather as this one did in the hot sunshine.

Walking back to the hotel he met a string of bounders, people he had seen and loathed at breakfast. Some of them had tried to talk to him; one beggar had had the cheek to ask Winn what he was up there for, and when Winn had said, "Not to answer impertinent questions," things at the breakfast-table-there was one confounded long one for breakfasthad fallen rather flat.

He felt sure he would n't see the girl again; only he did almost at once. She came into the salle-à-manger with her brother, as if it belonged to them. After two stormy, obstinate scenes Winn had obtained the shelter of his separate and solitary table. The waiter approached the two young things as they entered late and a little flushed; apparently he explained to them with patient stubbornness that they, at any rate, must give up this privilege; they could n't have a separate table. He also tried to persuade them which one to join. The boy made a blustering assertion of himself and then subsided.

Claire Rivers did neither. Her eyes ran over the room, mutinous and a little disdainful; then she moved. It seemed to Winn he had never seen anybody move so lightly and so swiftly. There was no faltering in her. She took the room with her head up like a sail before a breeze. She came straight to Winn's table and looked down at him.

"This is ours," she said. "You 've taken it, though we were here first. Do you think it's fair?"

Winn rose quietly and looked down at

her. He was glad he was half a head taller; still, he could n't look very far down. She caught at the corner of her lip with a small white tooth. He tried to make a look of sternness come into his eyes, but he felt guiltily aware that he wanted to give in to her, just as he wanted to give in to Peter.

"Of course," he said gravely, "I had no idea it was your table when I got it from that tow-headed fool. You must take it at once, and I'll make him bring in another one."

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"He won't," said Claire. "He says he can't; Herr Avalon, the proprietor, won't give him another; besides, there is n't room."

"Oh, I think he will," said Winn. "Shall I go over and bring your brother to you? Won't you sit down?"

She hesitated, then she said:

"You make me feel as if I were being very rude, and I don't want to drive you away. Only, you know, the other people here are rather awful, are n't they?"

Winn was aware that their entire awfulness was concentrated upon his companion.

"Please sit down," he said a little authoritatively. Her brother ought to have backed her up, but the young fool would n't; he stood shamefacedly over by the door. "I'll get hold of your brother," Winn added, turning away from her. The waiter hovered nervously in their direction.

"Am I to set for the three, sir?" he ventured. Claire turned quickly toward Winn.

"Yes," she said; "why not? If you don't mind, I mean. You are n't really a bit horrid."

"How can you possibly tell?" Winn asked, with a short laugh. "However, I'll get your brother, and if you really don't mind, I'll come back with him."

Claire was quite sure that she could tell and that she did n't mind.

The waiter came back in triumph, but Winn gave him a sharp look which extracted his triumph as neatly as experts extract a winkle with a pin. Maurice

apologized with better manners than Winn had expected. He looked a terribly unlicked cub, and Winn found himself watching anxiously to see if Claire ate enough and the right things. He could n't, of course, say anything if she did n't, but he found himself watching.

CHAPTER VIII

WINN was from the first sure that it was perfectly all right. She would n't notice. him at all. She would merely look upon him as the man who was there when there were skates to clean, skees to oil, any handy little thing which the other fellows, being younger and not feeling so like an old nurse, might more easily overlook. Women liked fellows who cut a dash, and you could n't cut a dash and be an old nurse simultaneously. Winn clung to the simile of the old nurse. That was, after all, the real truth of his feelings, not more than that; certainly not love. Love would make more of a figure in the world. Not that it mattered what you called things. provided you behaved decently. Only he was glad he was not in love.

He bought her flowers and chocolates, though he had a pang about the chocolates, not feeling quite sure that they were good for her; but flowers were safe.

He did n't give her lilies,-they seemed too self-consciously virginal, as if they wanted to rub it in,-he gave her crimson roses, flowers that frankly enjoyed themselves and were as beautiful as they could be. They were like Claire herself. She never stopped to consider an attitude; she just went about flowering all over the place in a kind of perpetual fragrance.

She enjoyed herself so much that she simply had n't time to notice any one in particular. There were a dozen men always about her. She was so young and happy and unintentional that every one wanted to be with her. It was like sitting in the sun. She never muddled things up or gave needless pain or cheated. That was what Winn liked about her. She was as fair as a judge without being anything like so grave.

They were all playing a game, and she was the leader. They would have let her break the rules if she had wanted to break them; but she would n't have let herself.

Of course the hotel did n't approve of her; no hotel could be expected to approve of a situation which it so much enjoyed. Besides, Claire was lawless; she kept her own rules, but she broke everybody else's. She never sought a chaperon or accepted some older woman's sheltering presence; she never sat in the ladies' salon or went to tea with the chaplain's wife. On one dreadful occasion she tobogganed wilfully on a Sunday, under the chaplain's nose, with a man who had arrived only the night before.

When old Mrs. Stewart, who knitted regularly by the winter and counted almost as many scandals as stitches, took her up on the subject out of kindness of heart, Claire had said without even meaning to be rude:

"I really don't think the chaplain's nose ought to be there, to be under, do you?"

Of course Mrs. Stewart did. She had the highest respect for the chaplain's nose; but it was n't the kind of subject you could argue about.

For a long time Claire and Winn never really talked; she threw words at him over her shoulder or in the hall or when he put her skates on or took them off at the rink. He seemed to get there quicker than any one else, though the operation itself was sometimes a little prolonged. Of course

there were meals, but meals belonged to Maurice, and Claire had a way of always slipping behind him, so that it was really over the skates that Winn discovered how awfully clever she was.

She read books, deep books; why, even Hall Caine and Marie Corelli did n't satisfy her, and Winn had always thought those famous authors the last word in modern literature. He now learned others. She gave him Conrad to read, and Meredith. He got stuck in Meredith, but he liked Conrad; it made him smell the mud and feel again the silence of the jungle.

"Funny," he explained to Claire, "be

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