It's a game," I went on; "it's a policy and a fraud!" "On the part of little darlings--?" "As yet mere lovely babies? Yes, mad as that seems!" The very act of bringing it out really helped me to trace it--follow it all up and piece it all together. On the spot, accordingly, in the pleasant hall and with her eyes on me, I, for a reason that I couldn't then have phrased, achieved an inward resolution--offered a vague pretext for my lateness and, with the plea of the beauty of the night and of the heavy dew and wet feet, went as soon as possible to my room. It was exactly as if my charges knew how almost more awkward than anything else that might be for me. An abyss of fortune or of temperament sundered him from them.