So they fell to discussing The National Parks of America; but Sara’s heart was not in the discussion, much as she admired the book. She was thinking about Nick and Angela.
“It doesn’t seem,” she told herself, “that a woman who could be so kind to another woman as she was to me, when she didn’t even know me, could be cruel to a man she did know and like, even if she didn’t love him. And could a woman he loved not love him back again?”
Miss Wilkins had resigned herself long ago, or thought she had, to going through life without any intimate personal interests of her own, and when her heart ached hardest that night in her mean little boarding-house bedroom, it was going out most warmly toward Nick, and yearning for the happiness of making him happy.
“If I could only do something!” she said to her mossy-smelling pillow. “And I owe her a good turn too, although maybe she doesn’t deserve it. I wonder what I could do?”
THE BREAKING OF THE SPELL
The spell was broken for Angela. She knew now, if she had not known before, that it was Nick Hilliard who lit the world for her with the light never seen on land or sea, where love is not. Some quality was gone from the sunshine, and the glory of the golden poppies had withered.
Back in San Francisco, living in the rooms which he had helped to make beautiful with daily gifts of flowers, she realized how completely Nick had meant for her the spirit of the West. It was because he had been with her that, from morning till night, she had thrilled with the joy of life and excited anticipation of each new day which had never failed or let her tire.
Every moment she missed him and wanted him, and would have given anything to call him back to her; but she had no right to call, for what had she to give worth his pain in coming?
Angela was an anxiety to Kate and a responsibility to Mr. Morehouse. The banker would have liked to send his friends to call upon Mrs. May, but she was in no mood to meet people. Then he suggested that she should go to Del Monte for the summer and watch the beginning of the new home, but she dismissed this idea, saying that as the architect had not yet even finished his plan it would be a long time before the house could reach an interesting stage.
“We all go somewhere in summer,” Mr. Morehouse urged. Whereupon Angela merely shrugged her shoulders. “You who live here may want a change,” she said. “I’ve had plenty of changes. I’m very happy where I am, thanks.”