aimlessly upon his knees

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“It’s very kind of you to want to make me an invalid,” he said, “but that can’t be. There’s nothing wrong with me. What I want is work. The more I have the better I’ll feel. I’m going to skin the deer.” And disregarding her protests, he leaned over and caught up the hind-legs of the creature, dragging it into the bushes >.


And as the leaping fires went sparkling through his body, he set the vessel down, screwed on the lid and put it on the log beside him. Two dark spots appeared beneath the tan and mounted slowly to his temples, two red spots like the flush of shame. An involuntary shudder or two and the trembling ceased. Then he sat up and looked at her.

“A mustard foot-bath and some quinine, please,” he asked with a queer laugh.

But she refused to smile. “You slept in your soaking clothes last night,” severely.

He shrugged his shoulders and laughed again.

“That’s nothing. I’ve done that often. Besides, what else could I do? If you had wakened me——”

“That is unkind.”

She was on the verge of tears. So he got to his feet quickly and shaking himself like a shaggy dog, faced her almost jauntily.

“I’m right as a trivet,” he announced. “And I’m going to call you Hebe—the cup-bearer to the gods—or Euphrosyne. Which do you like the best?”

“I don’t like either,” she said with a pucker at her brow. And then with the demureness which so became her. “My name is—is Jane.”

“Jane!” he exclaimed. “Jane! of course. Do you know I’ve been wondering, ever since we’ve been here what[68] name suited you best, Phyllis, Millicent, Elizabeth, and a dozen others I’ve tried them all; but I’m sure now that Jane suits you best of all. Jane!” he chuckled gleefully. “Yes, it does—why, it’s you. How could I ever have thought of anything else ?”

Her lips pouted reluctantly and finally broke into laughter, which showed her even white teeth and discovered new dimples.

“Do you really like it?”

“How could I help it? It’s you, I tell you—so sound, sane, determined and a little prim, too.”

“I’m not prim.”

“Yes,” he decided, “you’re prim—when you think that you ought to be.”

“Oh.”

He seated himself beside her, looking at her quizzically as though she was a person he had never seen before—as though the half-identity she provided had invested her with new and unexpected attributes.

“It was nice of you to tell me. My name is Phil,” he said.

“Is it?” she asked almost mechanically.

“Yes, don’t you like it?”

Her glance moved quickly from one object to another—the shelter, the balsam bed, and the crutch which leaned against the door flap.

“Don’t you like it?” he repeated eagerly.

“No,” quietly. “It isn’t like you at all.”

Probed for a reason, she would give none, except the woman’s reason which was no reason at all. Only when he ceased probing did she give it, and then voluntarily.

“I’m afraid I’ll have to change it then,” he laughed.

“Yes, change it, please. The only Phils I’ve ever known were men of a different stripe—men without purposes,[69] without ambitions.” And then, after a pause, “I believe you to be different.”

“No! I have no purposes—no ambitions,” he said glowering again at the fire.

“That is not true.”

“How do you know?”

“Because you have ideals—of purity, of virtue, of courage.”

“No,” he mumbled, “I have no ideals. Life is a joke—without a point. If it has any, I haven’t discovered it yet.”

Her eyes sought his face in a vague disquiet, but he would not meet her look. The flush on his cheek had deepened, his gaze roved dully from one object to another and his fingers moved . She had proved him for three days, she thought, with the test of acid and the fire, but she did not know him at this moment. The thing that she had discovered and recognized as the clean white light of his inner genius had been suddenly smothered. She could not understand. His words were less disturbing than his manner, and his voice sounded gruff and unfamiliar to her earsInternational School Interview questions.


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