Mortimer, shortly after his mother-in-law's death, and while Alexina was passing a fortnight at Rincona, had given James orders to collect all bills on the first of every month and hand them to him, together with a statement of the servants' wages. Mrs. Dwight was not to be bothered. Alexina, when she returned, had made no protest. The details of housekeeping did not appeal to her.

Alexina had no intention of being afflicted with rounded shoulders when the present mode had passed. But her face expressed no guile as she stood there in her simple white frock with a bunch of periwinkles in her belt, her delicate profile turned to Gathbroke as she gazed at the irregular majesty of the Coast Range, dark blue under a pale blue haze.

Down-stairs she stopped again in the spotless, shining kitchen, the clean odour where soft-soap is used always lingering. Alexina liked it; all her knowledge of the dear homely details of life she was familiar with, she had gotten here. "You remember the Leroys?" she asked Mrs. Carringford. "Why, yes; I sent them milk twice a day." "Did you know why they went away?"

She herself had recovered from that sudden access of horror but she moved still further from, that black and waiting hole. "Are you going to marry Gathbroke?" The gauntlet was down and Alexina felt a sharp sense of relief. She was in no mood for the subtle evasion and she had not the least inclination to turn up her eyes. She made up her mind however to save Gora's pride as far as possible.

Demonstration came hard and brought a flush of embarrassment with it. "Alexina," she said, "you haven't mentioned your mother!" The child stood silent but there came a repeated swallowing in her throat while a slow red welled up over the little face. Harriet had a feeling of sudden liking and understanding. "You would rather you prefer not?"

Then she rose and picked up her glove. "Sometimes I've thrown my arms out and felt I could scream, it all has seemed so poor and crowded and hateful to me," which was large unburdening of self for Emily. Then she went. At the door she laid the flower on a chair. The three weeks of Molly's illness brought it to the end of August, and, as she convalesced, Alexina began to plan for Aden.

However, she and her mother assured each other that he was bound to make a fortune in time, and then she would have an allowance as large as that of Sibyl Thorndyke, who had married Frank Bascom. It had been like playing at marriage. Alexina put it into concrete words. Subconsciously she had always known it. She had had no cares, no responsibilities.

The tall, beautiful woman stood a moment before him, then a slow colour came up over her throat and face. "I am Miss Blair Major Rathbone is " Alexina had come close to her side and her young eyes were on the doctor's appealingly.

Alexina had never given a thought to her sister-in-law's psychology, although the sensitive plates of her brain received an impression now and again of a violent inner life behind that business-like exterior.

She felt that only a little more would make her quite happy. Her lodgers, even her absorbed brother, noticed that her manner, her expression, had perceptibly softened. She herself noticed it most of all. Gathbroke met Alexina Groome again a week later. On Saturday, when the fire was over, and she could retreat decently and in good order, Mrs.