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And the other man said: "Yes."
"I understand," said the man on
the bench again. "You tempt shrewd
ly, my friend,, because you offer or
think you offer what we all dream
of and, in our varyingdegrees, long
for. Romance. It's the great lure.
Oh, yes, you come with a shrewd
He gave another gentle smile, look
ing up from where he sat, his hands
clasped about one up-cocked knee.
"Ah!" said he in a new and tender
tone smiling away across the quiet
sea. "Ah, these idyllic love affairs
stick in the memory. Gad, how they
stick in the memory! And how sweet
they are there! The point is, you
see, that they have come to nothing.
"I don't wonder," said he, "that
you were able to turn her head a bit
when you appeared again after all
this time with the same old lure.
Jove, not I!" he laughed.
"You know," he said, "I should
hate to have one or two little girls
whom, I haven't quite forgotten turn
up here suddenly and remind me of
what was to have happeried long ago
what heavens were to have de
scended upon earth just for two ex
ceedingly foolish and romantic young
people. I can't say that even my
thick head wouldn't spin a bit. . .
The Great Romance! . . . The
He was silent for a little space
then, and the younger man stared
across at him frowning, for he felt
that the situation was in some way
being taken out of his hands, and he
was anxious and uncomfortable.
But when at length Stanley looked
up again his face was stern.
"T wish she were here now." he
said after a little. He spoke to the'
man before mm, but ne was turned
partly toward the pine shrubbery.
"I wish all the foolish women were
here who take their happiness in their
hands and play with danger because
of something they call romance. I
should say to them all: 'There is no
life of romance. No one ever know-
inelv lived in this world a life of ro
mance. Romance is a dream, a fancy,
a mirage something we see trom a
long distance, but never will touch so
long as we live.' He wheeled savage
ly upon the younger man.
"And you with your life-next-to-the-ground!"
he cried. "You make
me sick! You never had the slight
est intention of trying to take a gentle-born
and bred woman to such an
existence. She couldn't stand it for
a week and you know it. She'd loathe
it and you in two days." He threw
himself down again on his bench, but
after a moment he looked up and his
tone was milder, less angry.
"Why," said he, "she and I have
together come closer to the true ro
mance than you in your squalid rest
less wandering up and down the
earth have ever come or ever will
come. We have been happy. Have
you? Have you?" he demanded again
when the other did not speak.
"Yes," said the other man at
length, but there was no ring of truth
in his tone, and Stanley said calmly:
"That's a lie. You haven't."
"She and I," he went on, "wander
over the world, too. We see all the
beautiful things the world has to of
fer, and we see them without the
bodily discomfort that robs things of
their beauty. We hear beautiful mu
sic, and we hear it together, and
it brings us closer together still.
There are certain operas which mean
so much to us that we always go to
them alone together, and we sit there
in the dark and hold each other's
hands and the music makes us one
one where two' were before. That's
nearer the true' romance than you
ever reach, my friend.
"Why, we we id'o everything to
gether. We feel everything together.
When somebody says something
; that's particularly pat, or makes a
little joke, she looks up to see if I've
got it, and I nod at her, and we laugh
like two children."
"And yet," said the younger man,
, standing his ground, "yet all this is