Percival Ford wondered why he had come. He did not dance. He did not care much for army people. Yet he knew them all-gliding and revolving there on the broad lanai of the Seaside, the officers in their fresh-starched uniforms of white, the civilians in white and black, and the women bare of shoulders and arms. After two years in Honolulu the Twentieth was departing to its new station in Alaska, and Percival Ford, as one of the big men of the Islands, could not help knowing the officers and their women. But between knowing and liking was a vast gulf. The army women frightened him just a little. They were in ways quite different from the women he liked best-the elderly women, the spinsters and the bespectacled maidens, and the very serious women of all ages whom he met on church and library and kindergarten committees, who came meekly to him for contributions and advice.