“The fog’s lifting, I think,” said the operator.
“Oh, thank the Lord!” groaned Ken. “It was that—the not being able to see.”
Yes—Kirk had felt that, too.
At Applegate Farm, Felicia wandered from room to room like a shadow, mechanically doing little tasks that lay to her hand. She was alone in her distress; they had not yet told the Maestro of this disaster, for they knew he would share their grief. Felicia caught the sound of a faint jingling from without, and moved slowly to the gate, where Mr. Hobart was putting the mail into the box. She opened her mother’s letter listlessly as she walked back to the house, and sat down upon the door-step to read it—perhaps it would take her mind for a moment, this odd, unconscious letter, addressed even to a house which no longer sheltered them. But the letter smote her with new terror.
“Oh, if you only knew, my dear, dear chicks, what it will be to escape this kindly imprisonment—what it will mean to see you all again! I can hardly wait to come up the dear old familiar path to 24 Westover Street and hug you all—I’ll hug Ken, even if he hates it, and Kirk, my most precious baby! They tell me I must be very careful still, but I know that the sight of you will be all that I need for the finishing remedy. So expect me, then, by the 12.05 on Wednesday, and good-by till then, my own dears.”
Felicia sat on the door-stone, transfixed. Her mother coming home, on Wednesday—so much sooner than they had expected! She did not even know of the new house; and if she were to come to a home without Kirk—if there were never to be Kirk! Almost a week remained before Wednesday; how could she be put off? What if the week went by without hope; no hope, ever? Felicia sat there for hours, till the sun of late afternoon broke through the fog at last, and the mellow fields began one by one to reappear, reaching into the hazy distance. Felicia rose and went slowly into the house. On top of the organ lay the book of stories and poems she had written out in Braille for Kirk. It lay open, as he had left it, and she glanced at the page.
“When the voices of children are heard on the
And laughing is heard on the hill,
My heart is at rest within my breast,
And everything else is still.
Then come home, my children, the sun is gone down,
And the dews of the night arise.’”. .. .
Felicia gave up the struggle with her grief. Leaving the door of Applegate Farm wide, she fled blindly to the Maestro. He was playing to himself and smiling when she crept into the library, but he stopped instantly when he saw her face. Before she could help herself, she had told him everything, thrust her mother’s letter into his hand, and then gave way to the tears she had fought so long. The Maestro made no sign nor motion. His lips tightened, and his eyes blazed suddenly, but that was all.
He was all solicitude for Felicia. She must not think of going back to the empty farm-house. He arranged a most comfortable little supper beside the fire, and even made her smile, with his eager talk, all ringing with hope and encouragement. And finally he put her in charge of his sympathetic little housekeeper, who tucked her up in a great, dark, soft bed.