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mistress—a woman who lives for her dancing and for nothing else—a woman to whom love-affairs must always come second."

"They have before, perhaps," he said, "but no one has ever loved you as I do. No one. Don't you realize that?"

"I realize one thing," she told him, "and that is, that you are the strangest young man I have ever met in all my life."

"Could you not love me, if you tried?"

She looked at him for a moment, still fanning herself with the fire screen.

"Couldn't you love me?" he persisted.

She capitulated then, in a sudden crazy fit of impetuosity that astounded her.

"I think that I do love you. I think that I loved you the moment you first came into this room to-night. And now please go away and leave me alone, because no good can come of what we feel for each other."

"Do you think I'll leave you now?"

And she rose to her feet in a whirlwind of white taffeta skirts.

"Why?" he asked, still staring at her.

"Because," she said, "if you must know, I have never loved any one in my life before. Never, never, never. That, I swear, is true. And I have no intention of beginning now."

Chevis asked, apparently as cool as ice: "Why not, for heaven's sake?"

"I suppose," she said, "I'm frightened."

"You'11 never be frightened any more, with me."

"I'm going now," she said, "into my bedroom, to powder my face. The others don't count, at the moment. But will you please go away?"

"I'll come with you first, to say good night."