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ALBERT DORRINGTON

A SCHOOL FOR FAILURES

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The Sydney Mail, Australia, 15 January 1930

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JIMMY DEAN leaned over Nina Clifford's chair, where the perfume of camphor laurels beat like new wine on his senses. The bungalow faced the beach that sometimes provided them with a lantern moon, together with a three-mile belt of surf that fell occasionally with the sound of gun-wheels on a corduroy road. Nina's voice had a jaded note in it.

'A man never gets a woman's point of view in love matters. I like Tempest immensely. He's one of the whitest boys that ever came to Falona. All the same, Jimmy, I'm not perjuring my soul about loving him.'

'You'll love him in time.' Dean answered in his matter-of-fact voice. 'He's twenty; you're eighteen. In Sydney the girls would chase him into the church and up the steeple for that twenty- thousand legacy of his. As one pal speaking to another, Nina, the kid wants looking after. He's nice and young and clean. He's got the sweetest mother that ever wrote ten-page letters to a son. His sister Beryl married young Les Amberly in July last. Tons of money and social prestige. They would put you on the visiting- lists of the right people when you go home as Mrs. Bellamy Tempest.'

A tropic sun flared over the beach. Behind the bungalow stretched unending vistas of palm-dotted plantations, with a white-walled factory and storehouse nestling among the flamingo- crested coral trees.

Dean shared his bungalow with Tempest. Jimmy was twenty-eight, and, as far as his overseer's work was concerned, was getting nowhere in particular. He controlled eight hundred natives in the coffee and copra plantations owned by Dan Clifford, father of Nina. Dan paid him three hundred pounds a year, with a slight bonus on output. Everything was left to Dean, Dan being interested in the rubber estates back of the banyan country in the far north.

Nina was Dan's only child. She had been to school in Sydney and had returned to find a newcomer in the person of Bellamy Tempest sharing Dean's quarters.

Like others, Tempest had come to Falona to grow coffee and acquire a South Sea island complexion. Jimmy Dean had been with Nina's father nearly five years. She seemed to have known him all her life. Nina had the fragrant personality of a jungle flower. All her pretty frocks had come from a Sydney house. Her father grumbled and said it was waste of money to bring such things to the islands to shame the peacocks and parakeets. Yet he loved her in his hard-handed way, and would like to have seen her married to Jimmy Dean—careful, slow plodding Jimmy, who handled natives like a real kangani and a gentleman.

'I expect Tempest here to lunch,' Dean said after a long silence. 'That new yacht of his is eating up his time. We're having pigeon pie, and my cook is giving us a wine salad made of lemons, mangoes, and bananas. You'd better stay,' he almost begged. 'We'll knock up a set at tennis afterwards.'

'Not to-day, Jimmy. Next Wednesday will suit me, if you'll cut the mangoes from your salads. I suppose Bellamy supplies the wine, eh, Jimmy?'

'It comes in cases from a firm in Oporto,' he confessed. 'Ninety bob a dozen.'

She nodded with a quick sense of appreciation.

'I assume that Bellamy can look a whole bottle in the face at lunch?' she inquired with girlish naivete.

Dean blushed; the question was unexpected.

'It's pretty lonely here at times,' he explained with an odd grimace. 'And I'm not saying that Bellamy looks harder at the ninety-shilling stuff than I do. That's why I'd like to see him—Dr—'

'Married to little Nina, eh, Jim?' she flashed back, a tiny spot flaring on her cheek. 'It's nice of you to throw that in,' she went on quickly. 'The man's point of view again! Someone has got to marry Bellamy Tempest to save him from drowning himself in the rivers of ninety shillings a dozen.' She rose wearily from her rattan chair.

'Jimmy, I'm going,' she declared with finality.

Dean stirred uneasily as he made a pretence of looking for his pipe.

'For goodness' sake, Nina, don't get mad with me,' he called after her. 'You see—I'm worried, too.'

She glanced back from the verandah steps, at his long shape sprawling now in the verandah chair, the thick, dark hair brushed back from his ample brow. Her lips had grown set, her eyes full of the shadows that come to women who stand on the threshold of their destiny.


IN the long school years in Sydney she had carried Jimmy Dean's picture in her silver-mounted dressing-case, had often smuggled it into the class-room, where other dreamy-eyed creatures had inspected Jimmy's exceedingly likeable face. She had returned to Falona to find her romance dissipated, with Jimmy pleading like a hired advocate for her to marry the man who paid for the wine!

Nina Clifford had the mental grasp of a college professor when it came to a question of relativity, as applied to her own romance. The whole dream fabric had gone. To put it in her own college slang, Jimmy was just barking for the other fellow.

'Good-bye,' she called out, and her voice sounded like an everlasting farewell in his ears.

He sat very still in his chair, like a boxer who had taken the count. And Jimmy knew what was the matter—knew that Nina Clifford, aged eighteen, was in love with him. He also knew that at twenty-five Nina would bless him for bringing the wealthy Bellamy Tempest into her life. How could he, Jimmy Dean, marry Nina? Even with her father's consent it would mean a castaway's life for Nina compared to existence with Tempest.

In all his life Dean had never seen why women of brilliant temperaments should he condemned to live in the jungle with beetles and hookworms and malaria. It was bad enough for the man.

Jimmy filled himself a glass of port from the decanter. It was better than whisky; it mellowed the disappointment of things, the little dream house he had once promised himself, with the girl wife seated at his table, smiling, coaxing, twitting him for a hundred little neglects and follies in the past.

The islands, as well as the bush, were full of such tragedies—the tragedies of misapplied affections, the dragging in the mire of lonely girl wives, sacrificed to years of anguish through the unutterable selfishness of men. And Nina was too young and sweet for such a sacrifice. Her chance had come with Bellamy Tempest. She must not miss the tide!


TEMPEST did not appear at lunch. Probably the young fool had missed his way in the scrub on his way to the coffee lands at the back of the factory.

The night came hot and windless. Jimmy Dean returned from the factory a little more tired than usual. The bungalow lamp was lit, the table set for dinner. Inside the kitchen his two coolies chattered softly as they prepared an appetising list of curries and soups. Dean found himself wondering what had delayed Tempest. He sat alone on the verandah for the first time since Tempest's coming to Falona. His mind was uneasy, depressed. And the bungalow always felt like a tomb after the kitchen coolies had gone to the village to spend a few hours with their own people.

A footfall, followed by the sound of stifled breathing, caught him. Looking into the darkness beyond the camphor laurels he saw Tempest approaching the verandah steps. The boy's face was ghastly and drawn. His well-cut clothes were mud-splashed, as though he had stumbled into a creek. In a flash Dean was beside him and had half carried him into the bungalow.

'What's up, Bellamy?' he asked earnestly. 'Why crawl through that infernal scrub when there's a good road from the factory?'

Once inside the room Tempest grew steadier; his tense, wire- drawn expression relaxed as Jimmy poured some wine between his lips. Crouching almost to a chair, he made a sign for the other to shut the door. His breath came in laboured expulsions, but his words struck like bullets on the listening Dean.

'Jimmy, I've killed Kini, brother of that young chief Tona. He followed me from the plantation, jeering and insulting me all the way. I asked him to desist, and he grew more abusive.... Down by the watercourse, between the sandalwoods, he struck me across the face with a bamboo. We rolled across the watercourse... and in rolling I got a stone and hit him twice. He let go, stood up, and then collapsed.'

'Dead?'

Tempest did not answer. He seemed to be fighting to keep down the suffocating mists from his straining heart. Then he breathed with an effort and spoke.

'I sat beside him, hoping he'd come round. But... dead men never come round, Jimmy! And... sitting by a dead thing, out there, got on my nerves.'

Dean stared hard at Tempest's dishevelled, bloodwashed figure in silence. All the life had gone out of his own face now.

'It's a ghastly business,' he said at last. 'Kini was the best headman in the archipelago.'

Tempest lay huddled in the chair, like one who had just run his race with wolves. Once or twice he stirred in the silence, as though listening for sounds outside. The soft crash of the surf on the bars became almost vocal in its maddening intensity.

Jimmy Dean took a turn across the matted floor, and then came back to the crouching figure in the chair. A spot that was like the point of a stiletto burned in his eyes. 'You've been looking at that little Manhikian girl, Voyola, lately, Tempest. You gave her a gold bangle the other day,' he accused sharply.

Tempest stirred and sat up, wiping the blood from his lips and eyes.

'What about it?' he demanded shortly. 'It's the first present she ever got in her life.'

'She's Kini's promised wife,' Dean snapped. 'How in Hades do you expect to control your labour if you start butting in with gold bangles and sheep's eyes on your headman's sweetheart?'

Tempest rested his chin in the palm of his bruised hand, his boyish mouth shut tight.

'If a white man is to be followed home and thrashed for being kind to a girl, Dean, I'm through with planting. Get that!' he flung out passionately.

Dean stood rooted, staring down at the bruised and battered boy whose coming to Falona had filled him with new life, with dreams of Nina's social betterment and Tempest's love. And in a space of a few hours the dream had become a sordid crime, with a pretty Manikian girl as the central figure.

Jimmy stood near the verandah lamp listening to the dull beat of the surf on the outer reefs. In a few hours the Island would be in a state of fierce excitement owing to the death of Kini. The fighting men of Kini's family would demand blood for blood; also, the long line of men cousins attached to Yoyola's house would be in arms when they learned that her sworn lover had died in a quarrel with her white admirer. Nina was now out of the question. The business was to save this young fool from the wrath of the headmen, to send him home and forget his existence.


THERE was no sleep that night for Jimmy Dean. He lay waiting for the knock at the door that would bring the blood-hunters on Tempest's trail. It came shortly after daybreak, and the knocking was done with the butt of a spear. Before answering the knock Jimmy peeped into Tempest's room and saw him lying full stretch on his bed, sleeping with the impassivity of a child.

Opening the bungalow door, where the spear-butt was still pounding, Dean drew back from the figure standing outside. It was Tona, the young chief and brother to the dead Kini. In the dawn light his skin shone like wild honey. His naked body dripped dew from the pandanus forest he had crossed to reach the bungalow. He stood taller than Dean, slim as a young panther, but with a brow that bore the iron frown of the killer. His eyes flitted in and out the bungalow and back to the white planter standing in the doorway. It had been said that Dean could handle natives as some boys handle beetles and flies. He met Tona's black frown with another.

'Why come here, Tona?' he snapped in the vernacular. 'At this hour I sleep best. Nor does the papalagi strike the door of his friend's house with a weapon,' he added, pointing rebukingly to the spear in the young chief's hand.

The chin of the young savage lifted with a jerk. There was a framed insult on his lips that died in his throat as he met Dean's glance.

'I come,' he said slowly and with precision, 'to find your guest, the papalagi who has killed my brother. There is great woe amongst my people. It is Tona speaks for them. Where is the papalagi who gives gold arm rings to our women?' His voice was that of the butcher demanding a sheep.

Dean flinched and held back the fierce retort on his lips.

'Tona,' he announced steadily, 'there will be an inquiry into your charge. I will answer for the papalagi. Go back to your people and say that I have spoken.'

The young chief rested on his spear thoughtfully, while the flames of the rising sun caught him in a burning silhouette. In his eyes was the brindling rage of the lion.

'I will not go!' he snarled. 'I will not eat or sleep until I have put my spear into this white man's heart. For you, O Dean, I have no other words.'

Jimmy Dean, standing in his pyjamas, smiled on the sun- reddened young savage. Tona made quite a picture in his scarlet waist-cloth and shell ornaments, with the glittering sapphire of the Pacific to heighten the background. A picturesque young buck indeed!

'Tona,' he said with unaccustomed sweetness, 'get on—beat it, before I hand you a bullet in the neck!'

The retort took Tona between the eyes, left him open-mouthed, gripping his spear. He turned in the path and shouted a few words across the camphor laurels to someone awaiting him in the scrub. Then he flung round towards Dean, fury in his eyes.

'In a little while I will come again without this!' He placed the spear across his knee and snapped it in halves, casting the pieces into the laurels. 'I will fight the killer of my brother with these!' He shook his clenched fists at the bungalow. 'If the papalagi will not fight, then will I call out my people to stone you from this house, to burn your factory, to strip your lands! I give the papalagi the one chance to fight, O Dean. To fight with empty hands until one is dead!'

He strode away into the forest without waiting for Dean's reply.

Dean did not go to the factory that day, and Tempest slept till long past noon. He rose and took his bath in the usual way, and met Dean in the dining-room with a brief salutation.

'I'm hungry, Jimmy, and thirsty,' he said, reaching for the wine decanter. Dean nodded cheerfully, and the two ate in silence, like men preparing for an unpleasant reckoning.

With the coffee Dean pushed cigarettes across the table and cleared his voice. He spoke briefly of Tona's visit in the early morning, and dwelt with tightened brows on the young chief's parting words.

'He wants to scrap, Tempest. He'll give us no rest until he gets a hiding or gives you one. I scared him into breaking his spear. Now he's satisfied to kill you with his hands. Of course, you can side-step the whole business by leaving Falona. In any case you'll never settle here after what's happened. They'll taboo and boycott you for years.'

Bellamy rose from his seat, and stared at the wine decanter thoughtfully.

Dean stretched forward and shoved the decanter into the tantalus and locked it.

'Tona first,' he said meaningly; 'the booze afterwards. What's your plan, Bellamy? I'll fight the fellow myself for the sake of my colour if you want to stay in Falona.'

Bellamy Tempest remained standing in the centre of the room, his long white hands resting on his narrow hips, his boyish face clouded, his eyes dreaming and far away.

'You mean, Jimmy,' he answered at last, 'that this black buffalo, Tona, wants to fight me with his fists.'

'He doesn't care how he fights so long as it's to a finish. But the point is—' Dean's glance went over Bellamy's slender lines, the wasp waist and curiously long, flexible arms that always reminded him of a champion tennis player he had once seen. 'The point is, Bellamy,' he repeated, 'can you fight at all?'

Tempest passed his slender white hands through his thick, dark hair, while his lips seemed to be intoning a litany.

'I didn't mean to hurt his brother, Dean. I give you my word, I didn't. He struck me twice from behind. Even in the watercourse he fought like a tiger. What was I to do?' he almost implored.

Dean shook himself impatiently.

'We are done with Kini, Tempest. This Tona wants to kill you. But... run away if you like. Perhaps it's best.' he added meditatively. 'I'll tell the headman you drew the colour line at black men—but not at women,' he concluded with a touch of bitterness.

Dean turned to leave the room, but found himself staring into Bellamy's white face and burning eyes. The boy planter had become suddenly transfigured. His long, sinewy hand fell like a dog-trap on Dean's shoulder.

'I'll fight Tona on the beach or in his native woods if it will bring him peace. Tell him I'll fight with my hands. And I'll just leave the darned old island any time I like, Dean, and with the one woman whose shoestrings I'm ready to eat.'

Dean was silent. Bellamy laughed scornfully and the ripple of his young shoulders revealed the soft, flowing muscles under his silk shirt. 'Since I left school I've been hunted by people who want to dictate a line of conduct for me; I'm not allowed to love a woman or a flower or a glass of wine without someone threatening me with awful consequences. Because a sweet little native girl was kind enough to leave flowers at this bungalow for me after that bout of fever, my life is attempted. A headman attacks me savagely on my way home. Now, his brother is sticking feathers in his hair with intent to murder.'

Again Dean was silent.

'If Tona can beat me, Dean,' Bellamy flashed out in conclusion, 'I'll crawl from this hell of beans and bananas on my hands and knees.'


TONA rested in his own house until the cool of the evening. Then he walked to Dean's bungalow, feeling that the omens were in his favour. He could kill Bellamy without trouble, and then claim Voyola as his own lawful property. That was the law of the archipelago. It had not changed since he could remember. It was evident that Bellamy expected his coming. The young planter's glance rested for a moment on the swart limbs and quick, shifting eyes and feet of the savage, standing in the open space between the laurels. The voice of Jimmy Dean snapped on his ears.

'I'll send him away if you like, Tempest. After all... you can't degrade yourself.'

But Tempest had hopped from the verandah and stood facing the black-browed Tona. At his coming the young chief shifted his ground, his hands thrust out, his lips muttering softly in the vernacular. Tempest had planned nothing for the encounter. His heart had drunk its fill of pain, and like a sniped tiger he turned to attack.

Tona seemed to leap from his haunches, his black, sinewy hands out-thrust for a throat-hold. Instinctively the boy from Potts Point ducked and tackled low. Tona's top weight did the rest: he pitched over Tempest's head and landed heavily on his shoulder.

'A point to you, Bellamy,' Dean called out from the verandah. 'Look out!'

But Tona had fallen over wild boars and buffaloes in the past, and the jolt merely steadied him. With the spring of a monkey he obtained a clutch on Tempest's shoulder. In a moment the two were locked in a death grip. The young chief worked his powerful right arm under Tempest's guard, while his snake-like left sought to pin him by the throat. He knew no other style. With the instinct of the dog and the wolf he made for the channel between the brain and the heart. In the shift of a foot his fingers had snapped on the soft, white neck.

Dean stirred uneasily.

'Break away, kid,' he called out. 'Punch his middle. Quick now, and listen to me,' he added with snap.

It was a fight without rules; at least, Tona knew none. With the terrible left arm working like a garotter's the end looked certain. But through the suffocating strangle-hold Tempest heard the call of Dean.

Instantly his right fist stabbed the bulging, breathing waistline of the snarling savage. All the fury of the last few hours was in the blow. Again he drove at the sagging belt, this time with his left. Tona's eyes bulged, a sickly, greenish hue overspread his dark face as he fought against the stifling agony within him.

'Now!' Dean spoke in the same audible tones, 'rip one on his chin. Hard and quick to finish this fooling.'

Bellamy heard through the singing noise in his head. With toes dug into the soft earth, he shot his right fist under the sagging black chin. It was not a hard blow, and would only have shaken a professional pugilist in training. But it was an unusual blow for Tona, with the breath already out of his lungs. He reeled and collapsed in a heap, legs and arms flung wide to the forest. Tempest stared at the unconscious figure, and then with a sudden impulse knelt and raised the young chief's head in his arms. In a flash Dean was beside him.

'Let him lie,' he ordered. 'And if I may suggest it, Tempest, you'd be well advised in taking a spell aboard your yacht. This fellow will start the band again when he recovers.'


IT was near midnight when Nina Clifford's skiff shot across the starlit water under the yacht's stern. Plying her oars cleverly she reached the toy gangway and made fast. The portholes of the little stateroom glowed with light. It was not the first time she had been on Tempest's yacht, but always with her father or Jimmy Dean. Tempest emerged guardedly from the little stateroom aft. A smile of swift understanding touched his swollen lips as he met her glance. How these island girls risked a scandal to seek him out, he told himself. No sooner was he out of one entanglement than another presented itself.

But... Nina Clifford, above all women! He stared at her dumbly, conscious of the serene beauty of her face and poise. In the tropic moonglow her filmy hair seemed to shimmer in a silvery halo. She spoke quickly with nervous back glances in the direction of the beach.

'Because I'm the only white woman on the island, Mr. Tempest, I am compelled to hear the complaints of my brown sisters at the factory and elsewhere.'

He flinched, but held his peace.

'Voyola is a good girl,' she went on. 'She will marry one of her own people, some day—not Tona or any of his breed. There are a number of decent boys at the factory who hope to win her. The mothers and women in the village are bitter against—'

'Me?' He shifted uneasily. In his brief sojourn in the South Seas Bellamy Tempest had witnessed more than one savage attack by native women on intruding whites—had seen a mob of Fijian dames drag a man from his schooner and cast him to the sharks.

'I'll cut away at day-break,' he said after a while. 'I'm just wondering what's the matter with me. I'm treated like a Kanaka,' he declared with a touch of self pity.

'There's nothing the matter with you except your money, Mr. Tempest. Men with eight thousand a year needn't grow bananas. Go home where they'll fetch them to you with cream and ice,' she advised almost sweetly.

Bellamy Tempest caught his breath fiercely.

'You'll go back to Jimmy and hard times, Nina!' he flung out. 'In three years he hasn't saved enough to buy a nickel-plated wrist watch. He's a hopeless failure.'

She did not answer his taunt as she stepped down the gangway to her dinghy.

'Good-bye, Mr. Tempest,' she called out, her oars dipping in the liquid phosphorescence under the yacht's bows. 'It was your cheque-book and your expensive ways that made Jimmy look a failure. Money's a good thing if you must have a top hat to eat sugar melons.'

'Nina!' He ran down the gangway steps beckoning frantically. 'Come back—listen—'

Her laughter reached him in silvery waves.

'Run away home, Mr. Tempest. I'm going to start a school for failures in a day or two. And to be quite candid I've only room for one pupil.'


THE dawn revealed the fact that Tempest had scraped a crew together from the riff-raff on the beach, and had disappeared in the yacht.

Jimmy Dean breakfasted early and with it a curious tugging at his heart strings. He felt that he was going to be lonely without Bellamy. But more than anything he felt that Nina had missed the tide—at least he wanted to feel that she had.

The heavy crunching on the coral outside carried him to the window of the bungalow. Dan Clifford came slowly up the steps, a big, leather-tanned trader, with the worry of his investments digging grey seams in his brow and hair. Of late the markets in copra and oil had slumped badly. And there was always the deadly fear that the next hurricane would clean up what the rhinoceros beetles had left.

'Morning, Dan,' Jimmy hailed cheerfully, for he always welcomed the rare visits of Nina's father with enthusiasm. A single glance at the furrowed face warned him of a fresh crisis in his affairs.

Dan Clifford nodded brusquely, as one in no mood for morning salutations. Leaning on the verandah rail he spoke of his losses under Jimmy's management, of the days wasted during the planting season with Tempest and his yacht. It would be his painful duty to take over the estate himself and run it on a profitable basis. He did not wish to be hard or unjust, but plantation work needed constant attention, and in this connection Jimmy had not pulled with the whole weight of his organisation. Before dismissing Jimmy from his service he would like to offer him the management of a cattle station in the Maranoa district of South Queensland. The climate was good, cold in winter, and the life a hard one. But in a few years a good man might save enough to own a property of his own.

'And the pay?' Jimmy questioned uneasily, for he was no stranger to the hard and bitter prospect that lay in the successful management of a cattle-run.

The reply came swift and certain. 'Two hundred pounds a year and find yourself.'

Jimmy almost collapsed in the doorway. 'Why—why, a man can't keep body and soul together on the money!' he retorted in a shaking voice.

'Take or leave it,' Dan Clifford told him abruptly. 'I've a dozen young fellows on my list who'll scrap like tigers to get the job. 'Twill be no strain on me, Jimmy, if you turn it down now.'

Jimmy blanched and gritted his teeth in silent humiliation. He knew the failure had been his. Something had been lacking. And... and those wine parties with Bellamy Tempest! He trembled slightly as he straightened his shoulders. Then drew breath slowly as one recovering the debilitating effects of an easy time.

'I'll take that cattle station, Dan. When can I go?'

'To-morrow. The mission steamer calls here on her way to Brisbane. You'll find the station a change from heat to cold. There's a wooden hut for you in the ranges, cold mountain water, and plenty of salt beef in the casks,' Dan added with a final handshake. A moment later he had passed down the path in the direction of the factory.



JIMMY DEAN threw off his coat and dug out his old travelling bag from the shed at the rear of the bungalow. Dan Clifford was a hard employer, he told himself, but no one in the islands had ever accused him of paying a man less than he was worth.

Jimmy looked up suddenly from his packing and saw Nina in the doorway. It was the first time she had ever seen him in his shirt-sleeves. He flushed scarlet.

'Off to-morrow, Jimmy?' she commented casually. 'Just passed Dad down the road.'

Dean made no answer as he struggled with his bags. Yet there was a curious stare in his dark eyes as he glanced down at the small white silk-stockinged feet in the shadow of the doorway. And just here there came upon him a sense of everlasting failure, of the abysmal depths into which he had fallen. He had made the capital mistake of thinking that Bellamy, with his money and social position, could make Nina happy. And all his unselfish plottings had ended in the packing of his bag, and a cattle station situated in the mountains of the Never-Never.

'Yes,' he answered after, a while. 'I'm moving out among the wild dogs and the owls. Dan gave me the job I've been asking for.'

'The country is lovely,' she said, without moving.

Dean went on packing. The returning steps of Dan Clifford fell in loud crunches on their ears. His big shadow slanted near the open window as he thrust in his head unceremoniously.

'It's only fair to say, Jimmy,' he declared hastily, 'that Thargomin station is Nina's property. It will pass into her hands on her twentieth birthday. Belonged to her mother. It is not my wish, maybe, that the management was offered you.' He shot a swift glance at his daughter in the doorway. 'But if Nina is anxious to experiment with her own fortune and managers I've no more to say.'

After he had gone Jimmy straightened from his task like one rising from a grave.

'That's one to you, Nina.' His voice had grown steady and strong. 'I wish I could say something—something about men who try to muddle their own lives and other people's.'

'Don't say anything, Jimmy. I don't want to cry. Crying women are worse than—'

'The men failures?' He was holding her in his arms, where all the crying in the world didn't matter, where failures are mended and forgotten.


THE END


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