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connection with his past life, had disappeared into Mexico, that kind land where so many ruined lives are quietly obliterated. I think I was one of the few of his old friends with whom he kept up any communication; but he was an unapproachable man when he wished to be, and we had not spoken of his affairs in the week we had been together. I loved him, though, and I was desperately sorry that our holiday was to be spoiled and our good-nature sorely tried, in all probability, by the presence of the runaway couple. As for Osborne, when he came back from the river he said never a word, but went grimly about getting the tickets to Coatzacoalcos and ordering our things put up by the Indian servant we were to take with us. Nor did we say much to each other all the long, hot afternoon, while the hard-worked little engine rocked forward in fantastic curves and hair-raising leaps and bounds over the palpitating rails of the Ferro-Carril de Tehuantepec. There was no getting away from the meeting before us; Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Coleman were to be the guests of the Providencia hacienda, and as they were unequal to getting there alone in a country whose language and customs were strange to them, they had to be met and taken care of. Osborne squared his shoulders to the task, mentally and physically. He sat bolt upright most of the afternoon, and there was a grim, half satiric look on his face which, remembering the actions of the young couple aboard ship, caused me to internally feel much pity for them.

Night had fallen with tropical swiftness when we reached Coatzacoalcos, and it was by the light of a big, low-hanging moon that we made our way along the street which followed the river bank out to the booming bar. As we walked along in silence I laid cheerful wagers with myself that the two we were going to find were the two who had come down on the Vigilancia with me. My first glance at them as they sat on the corridor of the little hotel won me all my bets.

They were the only Americans in the place, apparently, and they looked distinctly désorientés as they sat there in the brilliant moonlight, though not exactly forlorn, for he had his arm thrown around her, and her head lay on his broad shoulder while her eyes wandered out to the white

breakers in the Gulf. I thought to myself that they probably allowed themselves the luxury of this attitude, as they would escape all criticism by simply not understanding it. Later I realized that they would have allowed themselves that luxury in any case.

Osborne gave a low exclamation of disgust as he caught sight of them, and then clearing his throat, a warning which they ignored, he approached and made himself and his errand known.

At the mention of his name they both jumped up and showed themselves unaffectedly glad to see him and relieved that they were to be taken in hand. They were both tall, good-looking, and young, and as they stood there, illuminated by the clear moonlight, they gave one the impression of two extremely well-developed children who had just been rescued after having lost their way.

The boy grasped Osborne by the hand effusively.

"It's awfully good of you to come for us," he said. "We were beginning to feel pretty lonely"-he corrected himself "that is, Madge here was feeling triste (I've learned that much Mexican!) and I confess we felt up a tree when we got this wire from my brother saying he could not get down for a month. But it's all right now you have come. My brother telegraphed you would meet us. I have heard a lot about you," he ended happily, handing the dispatch to Osborne.

Osborne glanced at it. "Yes," he said stiffly, "I received one from Mr. Coleman myself telling me of your arrival. My friend Mr. Murray Randolph"- I bowed— "is staying with me for the next two weeks, so we will all go back together to-morrow morning if that is perfectly convenient to Mrs. Coleman." He did not even look at the girl, who spoke up hastily:

"Oh, perfectly convenient-anything that suits Arthur," she said, smiling faintly and laying her hand on his arm. The boy put his other hand over hers, and they stood there for a second smiling at each other for pure pleasure. I saw Osborne wince as if someone had struck him.


"The train leaves at six in the morning, regret to say. I will be up here for you in time to get your things to the station. Is there anything I can do for you now?"

Osborne's chill voice struck on the hot

night air like the clink of ice in a glass of wine.

"Why, yes," began the boy hesitatingly. "There are a few dozen things I would like to have attended to. I have been unable to express myself on the subject. I would like about five times as much water for bathing in our rooms, and at least six fresh towels, and we'd like some chops for breakfast and some coffee that isn't burnt to a cinder, and—but that will do for the moment. If you would kindly speak to the proprietor I'd be awfully obliged

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Osborne cut short his thanks. "I will see that Don Gregorio makes you more comfortable, and-good-night! I will be here at half after five in the morning."

We made our way over the sandy, rocky street to the English club where we were to put up for the night, with never a word to each other. Once I heard Osborne mutter to himself, as we stumbled over a particularly disagreeable bit of road, "Oh, the young fools!" But I did not pay much attention to him. I also was thinking of the two we had left at the hotel, but not as "young fools." I had never been married myself, and they suddenly seemed to make the married state rather attractive. For the first time my engineering camp in Montana struck me as being decidedly lonely.

But on Osborne I could see they had no such softening influence. He was uncompromisingly stiff with them, and, when I met them at the station the next morning, in the chill grayness of the dawn, he wore a long-suffering, disgusted expression which finished by rather getting on my nerves.

We settled ourselves as comfortably as possible in the car, and for an hour we were all too sleepy to make any conversation. The girl, indeed, with a half smile and a word of apology, laid her head on her husband's shoulder and frankly went to sleep again. She looked very pretty and helpless so, and he manly and protecting. I liked to watch the picture the two made in the uncertain, shifting light of the morning, and I took many surreptitious glances at them. I couldn't help casting an eye now and then on Osborne too, who sat there staring ahead of him with the curiously hard, antagonistic expression on his face which I had noticed ever since he had first received the telegrams. I thought he was trying not to notice them in any way, and I

was much surprised when the boy began fumbling softly in his pocket for a cigarette, to hear him say shortly, "Better not smoke you'll wake her up."

At some unpronounceable little station we all woke up and got out of the train for a cup of chocolate and some of the sweet bread that is to be found everywhere in Mexico. The two Colemans wandered off together after the casual fashion of newly married people, and when they got back into the train they seated themselves some little way from Osborne and myself, but directly in our line of vision, so that I was an interested, Osborne a pained, observer of the low but animated conversation and happy laughter they indulged in. With the exception of ourselves there were only mozos and low-caste Mexicans in the car, so that I noticed without much astonishment or dismay that his arm had resumed its apparently normal position around her waist. Osborne, as usual, though, looked thoroughly disgusted at the exhibition, as I knew he was mentally styling it, and for the most part gazed steadily out of the window.

His unsympathetic attitude of mind. gradually made itself felt by the two young people and they withdrew as much as possible to themselves when we had left Santa Lucrecia and started on our journey down the river. A dug-out canoe does not permit of much exclusiveness, however, and although we left them the middle of the boat-Osborne sitting in moody silence in the bow and I contentedly in the stern-we could hear and see all that passed between them. He had made her as comfortable as possible, bracing himself against dresssuit cases and gun bags, so that she might lie out at full length under the toldo and lean against him, and in spite of the heat and cramped position they seemed absurdly happy.

It was all probably very silly and sentimental-I made mental allowances for Osborne's expression-but I rather enjoyed catching the low whispers and the whiffs of gay laughter from under the toldo. Once when the girl's soft, inconsequential laugh rang out unusually clearly, Osborne looked back quickly, and then as quickly looked away, as though angry at having shown any interest in his two guests.

The girl seemed troubled by his hostile

mood, and two or three times as we slipped down stream in the tropic afternoon she made timid advances to him. She was so young and pretty, so evidently bewildered by her strange surroundings and the rush of momentous events which had recently crowded into her life, that in spite of my sympathy with him, I could have shaken Osborne for the cool aloofness with which he treated her. Her naïve excitement over the alligators which slid off low, overhanging boughs and splashed into the water at our approach, did not arouse him to even a cicerone's interest.

Several times we ran the canoes up to the bank and got out to walk about and stretch our cramped limbs, but the last four hours of our trip we made without a halt, running rapidly down the swift current by the light of the big, tropic moon. Florentino, the Indian boatman, had taken off the toldo so that we might catch what cool air was blowing, and we lay in the boat Igazing up at the strange, southern stars and listening to the soft lap of the luggagecanoe in our wake. That is, Osborne and the boy did, but I think the girl's eyes hardly ever left the face of her husband. He was evidently her god, her hero, and so absorbed was I in the two that I think it was almost as great a shock to me as to her when he got restless and impatient and swore softly in a most unheroic manner at his cramped legs. I saw Osborne give him a quick, displeased look, and then he himself, to my astonishment, arranged another resting place for the girl, who had moved from her husband's side, as though afraid of having added to his discomfort.

We all fell a little silent after that, Osborne's interest not carrying him to talking lengths and suddenly as we turned a sharp vuelta in the river the lights of the Providencia hacienda shone upon us. Florentino blew his horn, and in a few seconds the mozos could be seen hurrying down to the landing with lanterns. A few minutes more and the two canoes were tied up at the bank and we were scrambling out of them as fast as our cramped and tired limbs would permit.

At sight of the steps which led up the steep bank the young girl gave a little gasp of dismay. The next instant I heard a little exclamation, half of laughter, half of fear, and turning around I saw young Cole

man pick her up in his strong arms and run lightly up the steps with her. They made a pretty picture, I thought-the big, athletic fellow carrying the girl so easily in his arms up the steps, faintly discernible in the yellow glow of the swaying lanterns held aloft by the brown-skinned Mexicans.

I was so interested in the scene that I had quite forgotten Osborne, when suddenly I felt a hand on my arm and, looking around, I saw him beside me, his face white as death, and his eyes fastened on the boy with his burden.

"Great heavens, Osborne, what is the matter?" I asked anxiously.

"It's nothing," he said hurriedly, his eyes still on the boy. He dropped my arm and turned away. "I-I carried Alice that way once. She makes me think of Alice," he said in a low voice.

I was silent with surprise and pity. If that were so, poor Osborne had a trial before him which would indeed be hard to bear.

That it was hard for him was abundantly evident in the days that followed. They were like two frank, happy children in the display of their affection for each other, and what would have been amusing or, at worst, embarrassing to most people became positively painful to Osborne. A hundred times I saw the bitter, hopeless look creep into his eyes as he watched the two walking up and down the corridor, his arm thrown around her neck, or saw him stoop to kiss her and fasten a gardenia in her heavy brown hair. But though it was fraught with a bitter regretfulness to Osborne, yet it seemed to fascinate him, too, and I thought he soon came to love to see them together, and to watch for all their foolish, exquisite bits of sentimentality.

The young girl seemed determined to gain Osborne's friendship. I would willingly have given her mine, for she attracted me strongly, but she seemed to prefer Osborne. Perhaps it was his evident wish to avoid her that piqued her, or perhaps it was his quiet manner and the sadness indelibly written on his face that made him sympathetic to her. At any rate, after the first few days of constraint, I saw that Osborne was gradually falling in with her mood, and it no longer surprised me to see them walking together in the brief coolness of the twilight along the river bank or riding out into the coffee fincas

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about enough of this. We've only been married six weeks, but we've found out each other's faults pretty thoroughly, I think-at least you have found out mine and informed me of them on every possible occasion." He gave a bitter little laugh. "You don't or you won't understand me and you make me miserable, and apparently I make you miserable. One day you act as if you still loved me and the next, if I cross you in the slightest, you fly into a rage with me."

"And you never lose your temper! I have given up everything for you-home and family and everything-to come down here, and now I know you never really loved me. You understand me less and less, I think, and don't even care.”

After each little irascible outburst, he would on in a hard tone: "I confess I've had try to resume his usual boyishly agreeable manner and to be more affectionate, if possible, to his young wife; but it was plain to be seen that she was surprised and deeply hurt, and being as high tempered as himself, the friction between them was often intense enough. Fortunately for Osborne's and my own peace of mind they seldom differed in our presence-we could only guess at any disagreement by the girl's flushed cheek or the boy's sulky manner. It all wore terribly on Osborne, in those two weeks, but I could hardly decide which seemed hardest for him to bear, their frank, open fashion of love-making when they were friends-I saw him many times watch them with eyes bright with pain and a queer, wistful look on his face-or their numberless, nerve-racking little tiffs. It was plain that neither knew the other thoroughly and neither had the patience or tact to avoid the dangerous, unsounded places. The climax came on the last evening of my stay, as Osborne and I lay in our hammocks on the wire-screened corridor, smoking, after they had left us for the night. We heard them in their room, and suddenly came the sharp question and the quick, angry reply. A little later in the stillness I heard her crying softly. Osborne must have heard her, too, for he sprang up, his face pale and his eyes flashing.

"What a brute that boy is! Great Lord! what brutes all men are! He is a young tyrant already, and that poor girl!" He broke off and began to pace the corridor. I could only wonder what bitter thoughts of his own mingled with his pity for the girl beneath his roof and his anger against the boy who had taken her so far from home. While I was still gazing after him, trying to read his thoughts, she came out into the corridor and threw herself into a hammock at the farther end. She was crying bitterly, and Osborne and I drew back into the shadow, shocked and silenced. Before we could decide what to do, Coleman came to the door of the corridor, looking uncertainly into the semi-darkness. When he made out the bowed figure in the hammock he went slowly over to it and stood looking down.

"I wish you would listen to me for a moment," he said at length tentatively; and then as the girl did not lift her head he went

"I understand you well enough," said the boy coldly. He turned away and leaned against the folded shutter of the window. Suddenly he burst out passionately, "My God! to think of your talking to me like that when you promised! But never mind— if you value your home and family so much more than me you can go back to them! It's time there should be an end of this. chuck seeing Dick and take you back to New York. Then I'll come back here and try to forget you and everything."


The girl sat up stiffly in the hammock. "I'll be ready in the morning," she said in a dry, weary tone. "As you say, the sooner this ends the better. We are hopelessly incompatible. I wonder why we ever fell in love with each other!" She laughed a little. "You seem quite like a different person to me now--I shall be glad to be back home, but you need not go with me; I would far rather go aloneShe was half talking to herself.

"I shall take you back-how would I know what you would tell them—” The girl gave a little cry. He stopped half ashamed, even in his anger and wounded pride, at his own insinuations.

Suddenly I felt Osborne stir at my side. We had sat there hardly breathing, during the short, sharp talk between the two, but now he got up and strode out into the moonlight that lay in great silver patins upon the floor of the corridor. Even in the uncertain light I could see how pale he was.

"Have you two children any more hard things to say to each other? Can you hurt

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