"Forget it," she said. "Why do you think of a gulch when --" She stopped with a sudden recollection that he was not used to persiflage. But he anticipated what she was about to say.
"Why think of the gulch when you are here?" he said. "Why, because it is only th' gulch that seems real. All this, -- these pleasant, polite people, this beautiful room, th' flowers everywhere, and you, and me as I am, seem as if I was dreamin'. Thar ain't anything in it all that is like what I thought it would be."
"Not as you thought it would be?"
"No. Different. I thought it would be -- well, I thought th' people would not be quite so high-toned. I hope you don't mind that word."
"Not in the least," she said. " It's a mu- sical term. It applies very well to people."
They took up the dance again and waltzed breathlessly till the close. Kate was tired; the exertion had been a little more than she had bargained for. She sat very still on the veranda under the white glare of an electric ball, and let Roeder do the talking. Her thoughts, in spite of the entertainment she was deriving from her present experiences, would go back to the babies. She saw them tucked well in bed, each in a little iron crib, with the muslin curtains shielding their rosy faces from the light. She wondered if Jack were reading alone in the library or was at the club, or perhaps at the summer con- cert, with the swell of the violins in his ears. Jack did so love music. As she thought how delicate his perceptions were, how he responded to everything most subtle in nature and in art, of how life itself was a fine art with him, and joy a thing to be cultivated, she turned with a sense of deep compassion to the simple man by her side. His rough face looked a little more unat- tractive than usual. His evening clothes were almost grotesque. His face wore a look of solitude, of hunger.
"What were you saying?" she said, dreamily. "I beg your pardon."
"I was sayin' how I used t' dream of sittin' on the steps of a hotel like this, and not havin' a thing t' do. When I used t' come down here out of the gulch, and see men who had had good dinners, an' good baths, sittin' around smokin', with money t' go over there t' th' bookstan' an' get any- thin' they'd want, it used t' seem t' me about all a single man could wish fur."