know how happy I am: it's the kind of happiness that makes you want to
cry. Oh, you don't know; nobody could ever know!"
Dan rose and paced the floor, while Allen stood watching him eagerly and
pouring his heart out. Dan felt that tragedy loomed here. He did not
doubt Allen's sincerity; he was not unmoved by his manner, his voluble
description of all the phases of his happiness. Allen, with all his
faults and weaknesses, had nevertheless a sound basis of character.
Harwood's affection for him dated from that first encounter in the
lonely Meridian Street house when the boy had dawned upon him in his
overalls and red silk stockings. He had never considered Allen's
interest in Marian serious; for Allen had to Dan's knowledge paid
similar attentions to half a dozen other girls. Allen's imagination made
a goddess of every pretty girl, and Dan had settled down to the belief
that his friend saw in Marian only one of the many light-footed Dianas
visible in the city thoroughfares, whom he invested with deific charms
and apostrophized in glowing phrases. But that he should marry
Marian--Marian, the joyous and headstrong; Marian the romping, careless
Thalia of Allen's bright galaxy! She was ill-fitted for marriage,
particularly to a dreamy, emotional youngster like Allen. And yet, on
the other hand, if she had arrived at a real appreciation of Allen's
fineness and gentleness and had felt his sweetness and charm, why not?
Dan's common sense told him that quite apart from the young people
themselves there were reasons enough against it.