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Miss Merritt's mousy face became all


"Why, sir, Mrs. Cameron has gone out to dinner, and after to a concert. I guess you forgot, sir."

"Oh, yes," said Cameron, easily. "This is the night of the concert. I had absolutely forgotten. I'd have got a bite downtown if I'd thought. Is the cook in?"

"Sure, sir. I'll call her."

She left Cameron alone with Billy, who, cannibal-wise, was chewing his father's hand and crowing softly over the appetizing bumps and veins.

"If you 'd jest 'phoned, sir," panted the cock, who was a large, purple-faced person. Cameron sighed.

"Just anything, Katy. I have a headache. Some eggs and toast-poached eggs, I think."

In another moment the maid passed the nursery door, with white things over her arm, on her way to set the table.

Cameron, dazed as never in his life before, lifted Billy to his shoulder and trotted up and down the room. "Nice little boy!" he laughed, Billy's damp fists hitting at him in ecstasy. "I'll just take him to the sitting-room while you finish your dinner." He did his best to pretend that the situation was not unusual, to act as if in his own home a man could be nothing but at home. All these confounded hirelings, acting as if they owned the place, had the cheek to be amazed over his dropping in!

Miss Merritt beamed.

"I always say, sir, that boys should know their fathers."

"Boys should know their fathers?" This was almost the last straw.

"Here!" said Miss Merritt, holding out a pink-edged blanket. "Jest put it on your lap, sir." There was about her that utter and peculiar lack of decorum that is common to nurses and mothers, and Cameron, blushing furiously, grabbed the blanket. and fled.

"Boys should know their fathers, hey?" Cameron was enraged. We 'll see about that pretty quick! Billy crowed with joy. as the blanket flapped about them, and,

above the chasm of his doubts and his conscience Cameron heard himself laugh, too. He got into his arm-chair. Billy, so warm and solid and gay, so evidently liking him, gave him, parent that he was, the thrill of adventure as his hands held him and knew him for his own. The blanket spread upon his knees, the door closed, Cameron expanded with the desire to know his son, even as it was desirable that his son should know him. He turned him over and around, he studied the vagaries of scallops and pearl buttons; profoundly he pitied his small image for all of his discomforts, and advised him to grow out of safety-pins as fast as possible. He fell into a philosophical mood, spouting away at Bill, and Bill responded with fists and delicious gurgles and an imitative sense of investigation. Cameron reflected, with illumination, upon the amusing sounds a baby makes when the world is well. They were really having an awfully good time.

Billy was fuzzy and blond, one of those moist, very blue-eyed babies that women appreciate. appreciate. Cameron all at once saw why. Warmth expanded his aching heart, and his arms circled his own mite of boy. Billy yawned, agreed instantly with Cameron that a yawn from a baby was funny, and with a chuckle pitched against Cameron, bumped his nose on a waistcoat button, considered the button solemnly, with his small mouth stuck out ridiculously, and then snuggled into the hollow of his father's arms; and, closing his big eyes with a confidence that made thrills creep over him the man and brought something stinging to his eyes, Bill went to sleep.

After an unmeasured lapse of time. Miss Merritt came for the baby. "Oh, the lambkin! Ain't he sweet, sir?"

Cameron ached in every joint, but he did not know it.

"Take care how you handle him!" he whispered. "It 's awful to be wakened out of one's first sleep!"

"I know better 'n to wake a sleepin' baby, believe me," said Miss Merritt with a touch of spice.

The door closed. Cameron sat stretching his stiff arms and legs and staring be

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fore him, and upon his usually tired and lined face was the beam of full joy.

Then came dinner, a lonely, silent mockery of a meal. And back the question came, booming over the soft tinkling of glass and silver. He realized, with his salad, that four nights out of seven Nellie dined like this, alone. His lower lip protruded, and lines of conscience fell in at curtain upon his face.

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"Mrs. Cameron hates eatin' 'lone, too,' said the maid. "She generally eats early, so 's t' have Billy in his high chair 'longside. If he sleeps, she reads a book, sir."

He was alone in the sitting-room with his coffee, and the place had sunk into fathomless silence. It was only half after eight! He stuck his head out of the window. Soft flakes touched and soothed his feverish head. "Damn money!" he whispered suddenly, then stood back in the room, startled, staring his blasphemy in the face. He'd go out in the snow, and get rid of himself. This was awful!

Bundled in a greatcoat, collar high, trousers rolled up, he ducked out of the great marble and iron vestibule into the night. There was no wind, and the snow was falling softly, steadily. The drive was deserted, and he made his way across to the walk along the wall.

By the light By the light of a lamp, blurred by the flakes till it looked like a tall-stemmed thistle-ball, he looked at his watch. No matter where Nellie had dined, she was at the concert by now, and a great sigh of relief fluttered the flakes about his mouth.

He turned north, glad of the rise in the ground to walk against. "By Jinks!" he smiled grudgingly, "it 's not so bad out here. We city idiots, we-new men, with all our motors and subways, we are forgetting how to prowl."

The world fell off to shadow a little beyond the shore-line, a mere space of air and flakes. Ice swirled by on its way to the sea, for the tide was going out. He peered; he began to hear all sorts of fine. snow-muffled sounds; and suddenly, away out on the river, something was going on -boats whistling and signaling, chatting

in their scientific persiflage, in the dark and cold of the night. "Lonesome, too!" Cameron laughed, and, boyishly, he tossed a snow-ball into the space, as if he 'd have something to say out there, too! "I 'm soft!" he groaned, clutching his arm. And suddenly he smiled to think how one of these days he and Bill would come out here and play together. He looked about, and a sudden pride filled him. He was actually the only creature out enjoying all this splendid snow! He had passed one old gentleman in a fur-lined coat, with a cap upon his white hair, walking slowly, a white bull-dog playing after him in the scarcely trodden snow.

Cameron turned home, a new and inexplicable glow upon him, cares dropped away. He marched; he laughed aloud once with a sudden thought of Bill. "Little corker!" He let himself in, and went straight to the bedroom to change his shoes. "I must get some water-tight things to prowl in," he thought, and he whistled a line of "Tipperary." Blurred in pleasant fatigue he sat on the edge of his bed, staring at his wet socks, when the telephone jingled, and he hurried out to


"Yep, this is Cameron. Oh, hello, old girl! Thought I 'd just come up for a quiet home dinner, you know." A grin like the setting sun for warmth spread over his face as he listened, as he felt the tables turning under his wet feet.

"Nope. Just bored down-town. Felt like bein' cozy and-buzzin' round the lamp in something comfy. Fine! Had a regular banquet! Bill's all right, little. devil! I tucked him in so he should n't be lonesome.

"Me? I've been out walkin'. Been throwin' snow-balls at the street-lamps. My feet are soakin', but I don't care, I don't care. Heard a concert myself, thanks. Whistles and things tootin' out in the snow on the river to beat the band! Don't think of it! I'm fine. Enjoy yourself. What 's life for? Good night, old girl. Don't lose your key!"

Cameron got as far as the cedar chest in the hall, but there, in his wet socks, he

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"I know that she does," said Cameron, stiffly, and, rising, he stocking-footed it past her and shut himself in his bedroom.

"Yes, sir; good night, sir." Miss Merritt stared at his door. "Good Lord!" she whispered in the nursery, "how awful for Billy and her if he takes to drink!"

Nellie came out of the telephone booth, her face white with horror. "Willoughby," she gasped, "get me a taxi quick!"

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"Your car is n't ordered till eleven"What do I care what I go in? Oh, I have been such a fool!"

"Don't mention it," grinned Crane as he wrapped her coat about her.

Gaily Crane waved his white-gloved hand to her, her face gleaming back pearllike for an instant in the shadowy taxi; then she was whirled northward and lost in the snowy night. Back in his place, next to Nellie's empty chair, he mused tenderly over the vagaries of a mere bachelor till the incomparable Austrian carried his mind off to where tone is reality, where there is neither marriage nor giving in marriage.

NELLIE fitted the key into the lock. Her fingers shook. The apartment was dark except for a light in the hall, and as still as if it were empty. If only Joe would

stay asleep till he 'd had time to sleep this horrible state of affairs away!

She switched off the light and carefully let herself into their room, and stood a moment, huddled, breathless, against the door. The room was ghostly. The vague, snow-veiled light filtered in from the street-lamp below, making of Cameron an incoherent lump, wrapped to his eyes in the covers of their chintz-hung bed.


Her hands clasped tight, she peered at him through the shadows. He did not He was sleeping heavily, curiously, irregularly, his breath coming in jerky little snorts. "Oh," she wailed in her guilty heart, "he is, he is! Poor dear old Joey, drunk! And it's all, all my fault!" Swiftly she undressed in the dark. If he were to awaken, to begin saying awful maudlin things

Her heart pounding, she lifted the covers and crept into martyrdom on the hard edge of the bed. Cameron slept on. Once he seemed to be strangling in a bad dream, and she fought with her sense of duty to awaken him, then, miserably, let him strangle!

Gravely Nellie's tired eyes traveled from familiar shadow to shadow, to rest at last upon the dangling heap of clothes upon a chair by the window that symbolized Joe Cameron by the sane light of day. Fatigue tossed her off to sleep now and then; terror snatched her back and made her cry. In the first faint dawn she awakened with a start to find that in her sleep her tired body had slipped back to its place, and her head was resting deliciously upon her pillow. And, with the growing dawn, humor came creeping back, and try as she would, her mouth twitched. Of all people, dear old Joey! Carefully she turned her head and peered at him. His face was turned toward her, what light there was full upon him. Wonder took away her smile. His face was fresh, the lines of care and worry softened away as if he were at the end of a two weeks' vacation. She rested her chin on her arm, amazed, puzzled. And suddenly a grin like the sunrise spread and broke over Joe's face, and he opened his eyes.


By STACY AUMONIER Author of "The Friends," etc.

is all so incredibly long, ago that you must not ask me to remember the scores. In fact, even of the result I am a little dubious. I only know that it was on just such a day as this that we were all mooning round Bunty Cartwright's garden after breakfast, smoking, and watching the great bumblebees hanging heavily on the flowers. Along the flagged pathway to the house were standard rose-trees the blossoms and perfume of which excited one pleasantly. It was jolly to be in flannels and to feel the sun on one's skin, for the day promised to be hot.

I remember that for years it had been a tradition for dear old Bunty to ask us all down for the week. There were usually eight or nine of us, and we made up our team with the doctor and his son and one or two other odds and ends of chaps in the neighborhood. I know that on this day he had secured the services of Dawkin, a very fast bowler from a town near by, for Celminster, the team we were to play, were reputed to be a very hot lot. As we stood there laughing and talking, -Bunty and Tony Peebles were sitting within the stone porch, I remember, trying to finish a game of chess started the previous evening,-there was the crunch of wheels on the road, and the brake arrived, accompanied by the doctor's son, a thin slip of a boy on a bicycle.

Then there was the usual bustle of putting up cricket-bags and going back for things one had forgotten, and the inevitable "chipping" of "Togs," a boy whose real name I have forgotten, but who was always last in everything, even in the order of going in. It must have been fully half an hour before we made a start, and then the doctor had n't arrived. However, he came up at the last minute, his jolly red face beaming and perspiring. Some of the chaps cycled, and soon left us behind, but I think we were seven on the

brake. It was good to be high up and to feel the wind blowing gently on our faces from the sea. We passed villages of amazing beauty nestling in the hollows of the downs, and rumbled on our way to the accompaniment of lowing sheep and the doctor's rich, burring voice talking of cricket and the song of the lark overhead that sang in praise of this day of festival.

It was good to laugh and talk and watch the white ribbon of the road stretching far ahead, then dipping behind a stretch of woodland. It was good to feel the thrill of excited anticipation as we approached the outskirts of Celminster. What sort of ground would it be? What were their bowlers like? Who would come off for us?

It was good to see the grinning, friendly faces of the villagers and then to descend from the brake, to nod in that curiously self-conscious way we have as a race to our opponents and then to survey the field. And is there in the whole of England a more beautiful place than the Celminster cricket-ground?

On one side is a clump of buildings dominated by the straggling yards and outhouses belonging to the Bull Inn. On the farther side is a fence, and just beyond a stream bordered by young willows. At right angles to the inn is a thick cluster of elms, a small wood, in fact,-while on the fourth side a low, gray stone wall separates the field from the road. Across the road may be seen the spire of a church, the fabric hidden by the trees, and away beyond the downs quiver in the sunlight.

In the corner of the field is a rough pavilion faced with half-timber, and a white flagstaff with the colors of the Celminster Cricket Club fluttering at its summit.

Members of the Celminster Club were practising in little knots about the field, and a crowd of small boys were sitting on

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