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HOW I STOLE THE QUAP

"I did."

"And then——?"

"To-night," she said after a long pause, "I can't explain. No! I can't explain. I love you! But—explanations! To-night My dear, here we are in the world alone—and the world doesn't matter. Nothing matters. Here am I in the cold with you—and my bed away there deserted. I'd tell you—— I will tell you when things enable me to tell you, and soon enough they will. But to-night—— I won't. I won't."

She left my side and went in front of me.

She turned upon me. "Look here," she said, "I insist upon your being dead. Do you understand? I'm not joking. To-night you and I are out of life. It's our time together. There may be other times, but this we won't spoil. We're—in Hades if you like. Where there's nothing to hide and nothing to tell. No bodies even. No bothers. We loved each other—down there—and were kept apart, but now it doesn't matter. It's over. . . . If you won't agree to that—I will go home."

"I wanted——" I began.

"I know. Oh! my dear, if you'd only understand I understand. If you'd only not care—and love me to-night."

"I do love you," I said.

"Then love me," she answered, "and leave all these things that bother you. Love me! Here I am!"

"But——"

"No!" she said.

"Well, have your way."

So she carried her point, and we wandered into the night together and Beatrice talked to me of love. . . .