The three young men started and the gentleman referred to winced perceptibly. This was the one rough spot in the course of Bloeckman's acquaintance with Gloria. She relentlessly punned on his name. First it had been "Block-house." lately, the more invidious "Blockhead."

For the second time that evening Anthony's mind made an abrupt jump, and what he said was not at all what he had intended to say. "Un'erstand you kep' my wife out of the movies." "What?" Bloeckman's ruddy face darkened in parallel planes of shadows. "You heard me." "Look here, Mr. Patch," said Bloeckman, evenly and without changing his expression, "you're drunk.

He felt that she had been playing with the idea of marrying Bloeckman, and it was well possible that this disappointment in Anthony might throw her on sudden impulse into Bloeckman's arms. The idea drove him childishly frantic. He wanted to kill Bloeckman and make him suffer for his hideous presumption.

Five minutes ticked away on Bloeckman's travelling clock; silence lay all about the room, over the unfamiliar, impersonal furniture and the half-oppressive ceiling that melted imperceptibly into invisible walls on both sides. Then there was suddenly a rattling flutter at the window, staccato and loud upon the hushed, pent air. With a leap Anthony was out of the bed and standing tense beside it.

"I wonder where Bloeckman's been this summer." After the sureties of youth there sets in a period of intense and intolerable complexity. With the soda-jerker this period is so short as to be almost negligible. Men higher in the scale hold out longer in the attempt to preserve the ultimate niceties of relationship, to retain "impractical" ideas of integrity.

He tried to lay his hand in a friendly gesture upon Bloeckman's shoulder, but the latter drew away slightly. "How've been?" "Very well, thanks.... See here, Mr. Patch, I've got a party up-stairs. They'll think it's rude if I stay away too long. What was it you wanted to see me about?"