Carl came into the sitting-room while Alex-
andra was lighting the lamp. She looked up at
him as she adjusted the shade. His sharp shoul-
ders stooped as if he were very tired, his face
was pale, and there were bluish shadows under
his dark eyes. His anger had burned itself out
and left him sick and disgusted.
"You have seen Lou and Oscar?" Alexandra
"Yes." His eyes avoided hers.
Alexandra took a deep breath. "And now
you are going away. I thought so."
Carl threw himself into a chair and pushed
the dark lock back from his forehead with his
white, nervous hand. "What a hopeless posi-
tion you are in, Alexandra!" he exclaimed
feverishly. "It is your fate to be always sur-
rounded by little men. And I am no better than
the rest. I am too little to face the criticism of
even such men as Lou and Oscar. Yes, I am
going away; to-morrow. I cannot even ask you
to give me a promise until I have something to
offer you. I thought, perhaps, I could do that;
but I find I can't."
"What good comes of offering people things
they don't need?" Alexandra asked sadly. "I
don't need money. But I have needed you for a
great many years. I wonder why I have been
permitted to prosper, if it is only to take my
friends away from me."
"I don't deceive myself," Carl said frankly.
"I know that I am going away on my own
account. I must make the usual effort. I must
have something to show for myself. To take
what you would give me, I should have to be
either a very large man or a very small one,
and I am only in the middle class."
Alexandra sighed. "I have a feeling that if
you go away, you will not come back. Some-
thing will happen to one of us, or to both.
People have to snatch at happiness when they
can, in this world. It is always easier to lose
than to find. What I have is yours, if you care
enough about me to take it."
Carl rose and looked up at the picture of
John Bergson. "But I can't, my dear, I can't!
I will go North at once. Instead of idling about
in California all winter, I shall be getting my
bearings up there. I won't waste another week.
Be patient with me, Alexandra. Give me a
"As you will," said Alexandra wearily. "All at once, in a single day, I lose everything; and I do not know why. Emil, too, is going away." Carl was still studying John Bergson's face and Alexandra's eyes followed his. "Yes," she said, "if he could have seen all that would come of the task he gave me, he would have been sorry. I hope he does not see me now. I hope that he is among the old people of his blood and country, and that tidings do not reach him from the New World."