Once again Katie was donning the dress which had the colors of the sea. She was wearing it this time, not because she must get the poor old thing worn out, but because she had been asked to wear it. “By Request” she was saying to herself, with a warm smile, as she shook out its folds.
As Nora was fastening it for her she saw her own face in the mirror and tried to twist it about in some way. It seemed she would have to make some explanation to Nora for looking like that.
It had been a day of golden October sunshine without, and within Katie’s heart a day of such sunshine as all her years of sunshine had never brought. She had not felt like playing golf, or like reading about evolution; body and mind were filled with a gladness all their own and she had taken a long walk in and out among the wooded paths of her beautiful Island and had been filled with thoughts of many beautiful and wonderful things. Of the past she had thought, and of the future, and most of all of the living present: the night before, and that evening, when he was coming to see her again and would have things to tell her.
He had wanted to tell them then—some of the things about himself which he said she must know and which he gave fair warning would hurt her, “Then not to-night,” she had said.
And now the happiness was too great, filled her too completely and radiantly for her to fear the pain of which she had been warned. She was fortified against all pain.
Wayne’s finding Ann seemed to throw the gate to happiness wide open to her, giving her, not only happiness, but the right to it. She smiled in thinking how, again, it was Ann who opened a door.
If Ann had never come she would not—in this way which had made it all possible—have known her man who mended the boats. The experience with Ann was as a bridge upon which they met. It was because of Ann they could walk so far along that bridge.
The adventure, and what had come to seem the tragedy of the adventure, was over. It turned her back to those first days of play—the pretending which had led to realizing, the fancies which had been paths to realities.
They would not go on in just that way; some other way would shape itself; she and Wayne would talk of it, make some plan for Ann. She could plan it better after the letter she would have from Wayne the next day telling of finding Ann.
It was a new adventure now. The great adventure. But it was because she had ventured at all that the great adventure was offered her.
Her venturing had led her to the crowds. She was not forgetting the crowds. She would go back to them. It could not be otherwise. There was much she wanted to do, and so much she wanted to know. But she would go back to them happy, and because happy, wiser and stronger.
In myriad ways life had beckoned to her, promised her, as with buoyant step and singing heart she walked sunny paths that golden October afternoon.