She brushed her hand before her eyes as if they were there again and she would push them away. “Katie,” she suddenly burst forth, “if you ever do pray—if you believe in praying—pray sometimes for the girl who goes to Chicago to find what you call the ‘joy of living.’ Pray for the pilgrims who go to the cities to find their Something Somewhere. And whatever you do, Katie—whatever you do—don’t ever laugh at the people who kill themselves because they’re tired of not having any fun!”
“But wasn’t there any fun, dear?” Katie asked after a moment.
Ann did not speak, but looked at Katie strangely. “Yes,” she said. “Afterwards. Differently.”
They were silent. Something seemed to be outlining itself between them. Something which was meaning to grow there between them.
“There came a time,” said Ann, “when all of life was not going over the wire.”
And still Katie did not speak, as if pushed back by that thing shaping itself between them.
“Your Something Somewhere,” said Ann, very low, “doesn’t always come in just the way you were looking for it. But, Katie, if you get very tired waiting for it—don’t you believe you might take it—most any way it came?”
It was a worn and wistful face she turned to Katie. Suddenly Katie brushed away the thing that would grow up between them and laid her cheek upon Ann’s hair. “Poor child,” she murmured, and the tears were upon Ann’s soft brown hair. “Poor weary little pilgrim.”
Ann remained in her room all of the next day. Katie encouraged her to do so, wishing to foster the idea of illness.
It did not need much fostering. She had not gone back to those old days without leaving with them most of her newly accumulated vitality. But it was weakness rather than nervousness. Talking to Katie seemed to have relieved a pressure.
It was Katie who was nervous. It was as if a battery within her had been charged to its uttermost. She was in some kind of electric communication with life. She was tingling with the things coming to her.
So charged was she with new big things that it was hard to manage the affairs of her household as old things demanded they be managed that day. She told Mrs. Prescott again how sorry she and Ann were that Ann had given way. Mrs. Prescott received it with self-contained graciousness. Her one comment was that she trusted when her son decided to marry he would content himself with a wife who had not gone upon a quest.