On Sunday afternoon, a month after Carl
Linstrum's arrival, he rode with Emil up into
the French country to attend a Catholic fair.
He sat for most of the afternoon in the base-
ment of the church, where the fair was held,
talking to Marie Shabata, or strolled about the
gravel terrace, thrown up on the hillside in
front of the basement doors, where the French
boys were jumping and wrestling and throwing
the discus. Some of the boys were in their
white baseball suits; they had just come up
from a Sunday practice game down in the ball-
grounds. Amedee, the newly married, Emil's
best friend, was their pitcher, renowned among
the country towns for his dash and skill.
Amedee was a little fellow, a year younger than
Emil and much more boyish in appearance;
very lithe and active and neatly made, with a
clear brown and white skin, and flashing white
teeth. The Sainte-Agnes boys were to play the
Hastings nine in a fortnight, and Amedee's
lightning balls were the hope of his team. The
little Frenchman seemed to get every ounce
there was in him behind the ball as it left his
"You'd have made the battery at the Univer-
sity for sure, 'Medee," Emil said as they were
walking from the ball-grounds back to the
church on the hill. "You're pitching better
than you did in the spring."
Amedee grinned. "Sure! A married man
don't lose his head no more." He slapped Emil
on the back as he caught step with him. "Oh,
Emil, you wanna get married right off quick!
It's the greatest thing ever!"
Emil laughed. "How am I going to get mar-
ried without any girl?"
Amedee took his arm. "Pooh! There are
plenty girls will have you. You wanna get some
nice French girl, now. She treat you well;
always be jolly. See,"--he began checking off
on his fingers,--"there is Severine, and
Alphosen, and Josephine, and Hectorine, and
Louise, and Malvina--why, I could love any
of them girls! Why don't you get after them?
Are you stuck up, Emil, or is anything the
matter with you? I never did know a boy
twenty-two years old before that didn't have
no girl. You wanna be a priest, maybe? Not-a
for me!" Amedee swaggered. "I bring many
good Catholics into this world, I hope, and
that's a way I help the Church."
Emil looked down and patted him on the
shoulder. "Now you're windy, 'Medee. You
Frenchies like to brag."
But Amedee had the zeal of the newly mar-
ried, and he was not to be lightly shaken off.
"Honest and true, Emil, don't you want ANY
girl? Maybe there's some young lady in Lin-
coln, now, very grand,"--Amedee waved his
hand languidly before his face to denote the
fan of heartless beauty,--"and you lost your
heart up there. Is that it?"
"Maybe," said Emil.
But Amedee saw no appropriate glow in his
friend's face. "Bah!" he exclaimed in disgust.
"I tell all the French girls to keep 'way from
you. You gotta rock in there," thumping Emil
on the ribs.
When they reached the terrace at the side of
the church, Amedee, who was excited by his
success on the ball-grounds, challenged Emil
to a jumping-match, though he knew he would
be beaten. They belted themselves up, and
Raoul Marcel, the choir tenor and Father
Duchesne's pet, and Jean Bordelau, held the
string over which they vaulted. All the
French boys stood round, cheering and hump-
ing themselves up when Emil or Amedee went
over the wire, as if they were helping in the lift.
Emil stopped at five-feet-five, declaring that
he would spoil his appetite for supper if he
jumped any more.
Angelique, Amedee's pretty bride, as blonde
and fair as her name, who had come out to
watch the match, tossed her head at Emil and
"'Medee could jump much higher than you
if he were as tall. And anyhow, he is much more
graceful. He goes over like a bird, and you
have to hump yourself all up."
"Oh, I do, do I?" Emil caught her and
kissed her saucy mouth squarely, while she
laughed and struggled and called, "'Medee!
"There, you see your 'Medee isn't even big
enough to get you away from me. I could run
away with you right now and he could only sit
down and cry about it. I'll show you whether
I have to hump myself!" Laughing and pant-
ing, he picked Angelique up in his arms and
began running about the rectangle with her.
Not until he saw Marie Shabata's tiger eyes
flashing from the gloom of the basement door-
way did he hand the disheveled bride over
to her husband. "There, go to your graceful;
I haven't the heart to take you away from
Angelique clung to her husband and made
faces at Emil over the white shoulder of
Amedee's ball-shirt. Emil was greatly amused
at her air of proprietorship and at Amedee's
shameless submission to it. He was delighted
with his friend's good fortune. He liked to see
and to think about Amedee's sunny, natural,
He and Amedee had ridden and wrestled and larked together since they were lads of twelve. On Sundays and holidays they were always arm in arm. It seemed strange that now he should have to hide the thing that Amedee was so proud of, that the feeling which gave one of them such happiness should bring the other such despair. It was like that when Alexandra tested her seed-corn in the spring, he mused. From two ears that had grown side by side, the grains of one shot up joyfully into the light, projecting themselves into the future, and the grains from the other lay still in the earth and rotted; and nobody knew why.