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The World And The Door
by [?]

Once while packing, a brief shadow of the lotus dream came back to her. She held Merriam’s picture to her heart with one hand, while she threw a pair of shoes into the trunk with her other.

At six o’clock Mateo returned and reported the sloop ready. He and his brother lifted the trunk into the cart, covered it with straw and conveyed it to the point of embarkation. From there they transferred it on board in the sloop’s dory. Then Mateo returned for additional orders.

Mrs. Conant was ready. She had settled all business matters with Angela, and was impatiently waiting. She wore a long, loose black-silk duster that she often walked about in when the evenings were chilly. On her head was a small round hat, and over it the apricot-coloured lace mantilla.

Dusk had quickly followed the short twilight. Mateo led her by dark and grass-grown streets toward the point behind which the sloop was anchored. On turning a corner they beheld the Hotel Orilla del Mar three streets away, nebulously aglow with its array of kerosene lamps.

Mrs. Conant paused, with streaming eyes. “I must, I must see him once before I go,” she murmured in anguish. But even then she did not falter in her decision. Quickly she invented a plan by which she might speak to him, and yet make her departure without his knowing. She would walk past the hotel, ask some one to call him out and talk a few moments on some trivial excuse, leaving him expecting to see her at her home at seven.

She unpinned her hat and gave it to Mateo. “Keep this, and wait here till I come,” she ordered. Then she draped the mantilla over her head as she usually did when walking after sunset, and went straight to the Orilla del Mar.

She was glad to see the bulky, white-clad figure of Tio Pancho standing alone on the gallery.

“Tio Pancho,” she said, with a charming smile, “may I trouble you to ask Mr. Merriam to come out for just a few moments that I may speak with him?”

Tio Pancho bowed as an elephant bows.

“Buenas tardes, Senora Conant,” he said, as a cavalier talks. And then he went on, less at his ease:

“But does not the senora know that Senor Merriam sailed on the Pajaro for Panama at three o’clock of this afternoon?”