"If talking about Sunrise made her cry like that, maybe you might do something for her," Dennie had said. He had never tried to do anything for her. Somehow she seemed to be the woman who was in peril now, and he was half-consciously blaming himself that he had never tried to help her, had not even thought of her for months. Women were not in his line, except the kindly impersonal interest he felt for all the Sunrise girls, and his sense of responsibility for Norrie, and the memory of a girl-- oh, the hungry haunting memory!
All this in a semi-conscious fleetness swept across his mind, that was bent on reaching the river, and on that woman holding a drowning child. At the bend in the river, the man halted suddenly.
"Look out! There's a stone; don't stumble!" he said hoarsely, dodging back as he spoke.
Then Fenneben was conscious of his own feet striking the slab of stone by the roadside, of a sudden shove from somebody behind him, a two-armed man it must have been, of stumbling blindly, trying to catch at the elm tree that stood there, of falling through the underbrush, headforemost, into the river, even of striking the water. As he fell, he was very faintly conscious of a sense of pity for Victor Burleigh fighting out a battle with his own honor tonight, and then he must have heard a dog's fierce yelp, and a woman's scream. Somehow, it seemed to come through distance of time, as out of past years, and not through length of space-- and then of a brutal laugh and an oath with the words:
But Fenneben's head had struck the stone ledge against which the Walnut ripples at low tide, and for a long time he knew no more.
It was raining still when Victor Burleigh reached the Saxon House. At the door he met Professor Burgess, who was just leaving. Strangely enough, the memory of their first meeting at the campus gate on a September day flashed into the mind of each as they came face to face now. They never spoke to each other except when it was necessary. And yet tonight, something made them greet each other courteously.
"Professor, will you be kind enough to come up to my room a few minutes?" Burleigh asked, lifting his cap to his instructor with the words.
"Certainly," Vincent Burgess said with equal grace.