It was her voice moved him; it had been vibrant with real passion.
But after a moment the face of the child of many soldiers clouded. “But won’t I have any gun ’tall, Aunt Kate?” he asked wistfully.
She smiled at the stubborn persistence of militarism. “I’m afraid not, dear. I hope we’re not going to have so many guns when you’re a man. But, Worth, if you don’t have the gun, other little boys will have more to eat. There are lots of little boys and girls in the world now haven’t enough to eat just because there are so many guns. Wouldn’t you rather do without the gun and know that nobody was going hungry?”
“I—guess so,” faltered Worth, striving to be magnanimous but looking wistful.
“But, Aunt Kate,” he pursued after another silence, “what’s father making guns for—if there aren’t going to be any?”
Katie’s smile was not one Worth would be likely to get much from. “Ask father,” she said rather grimly. “I think he might find the question interesting.”
Worth continued solemn. “But, Aunt Kate—won’t there be anybody ’tall to kill?”
“Why, honey,” she laughed, “does it really seem to you such a gloomy world—world in which there will be nobody to kill? Don’t worry, dear. The world’s getting so interesting we’re going to find lots of things more fun than guns.”
“Maybe,” said Worth, “if I don’t have a gun you’ll get me an air-ship, Aunt Kate.”
“Maybe so,” she laughed.
“The man that mends the boats says I’ll have an air-ship before I die, Aunt Kate.”
She gave Worth a sudden little squeeze, curiously jubilant at the possibility of his having an air-ship before he died. And she viewed the city of sky-scrapers adoringly—tenderly—mistily. “Oh Worthie,” she whispered, “isn’t it lovely to be getting home?”
She found it difficult to adjust herself to the Ann who had luncheon with her the next day. The basis of their association had shifted and it had been too unique for it to be a simple matter to appear unconscious of the shifting.
She had not seen Ann since the day they said the cruel things to each other. Wayne had thought it best that way, saying that Ann must have no more emotional excitement. She had acquiesced the more readily as at the time she was not courting emotional excitement for herself.
And now the Ann sitting across the table from her was not the logical sequence of things experienced in last summer’s search for Ann. She was not the sum of her thoughts about Ann—visioning through her, not the expression of the things Ann had opened up. It was hard, indeed, to think of her as in any sense related to them, at all suggestive of them.
An Ann radiating life rather than sorrowing for it was an Ann she did not know just what to do with.
And there was something disturbing in that rich glow of happiness. She did not believe that Ann’s something somewhere could be stenography. Yet her radiance—the deep, warm quality of it—suggested nothing so much as a something somewhere attained. It seemed to Katie rather remarkable if the prospect of soon being able to earn her own living could make a girl’s eyes as wonderful as that.