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THE STICK OF THE ROCKET

"What's he done?" she said.

"D' you mind knowing?"

"No conscience left, thank God!"

"I think—forgery!"

There was just a little pause. "Can you carry this bundle?" she asked.

I lifted it.

"No woman ever has respected the law—ever," she said. "It's too silly. . . . The things it lets you do! And then pulls you up. Like a mad nurse minding a child."

She carried some rugs for me through the shrubbery in the darkling.

"They'll think we're going mooning," she said, jerking her head at the household. "I wonder what they make of us—criminals. . . ." An immense droning note came as if in answer to that. It startled us both for a moment. "The dears!" she said. "It's the gong for dinner! . . . But I wish I could help little Teddy, George. Its awful to think of him there with hot eyes, red and dry. And I know—the sight of me makes him feel sore. Things I said, George. If I could have seen, I'd have let him have an omnibusful of Scrymgeours. I cut him up. He'd never thought I meant it before. . . . I'll help all I can, anyhow."

I turned at something in her voice, and got a moonlight gleam of tears upon her face.

"Could she have helped?" she asked abruptly.

"She?"

"That woman."

"My God!" I cried, "helped! Those—things don't help! . . ."

"Tell me again what I ought to do," she said after a silence.