Page:The Intrusion of Jimmy.djvu/126

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ordinary young man with rather more ease of manner than the majority of the young men she had met, he developed in an instant into something worthy of closer attention. He took on a certain mystery and romance. She wondered what sort of girl it was that he loved. Examining him in the light of this new discovery, she found him attractive. Something seemed to have happened to put her in sympathy with him. She noticed for the first time a latent forcefulness behind the pleasantness of his manner. His self-possession was the self-possession of the man who has been tried and has found himself.

At the bottom of her consciousness, too, there was a faint stirring of some emotion, which she could not analyze, not unlike pain. It was vaguely reminiscent of the agony of loneliness which she had experienced as a small child on the rare occasions when her father had been busy and distrait, and had shown her by his manner that she was outside his thoughts. This was but a pale suggestion of that misery; nevertheless, there was a resemblance. It was a rather desolate, shut-out sensation, half-resentful.

It was gone in a moment. But it had been there. It had passed over her heart as the shadow of a cloud moves across a meadow in the summer-time.

For some moments, she stood without speaking. Jimmy did not break the silence. He was looking at her with an appeal in his eyes. Why could she not understand? She must understand.

But the eyes that met his were those of a child.