But, the moment conquered, things which it had called up swept in. The whole of it seemed to rush in upon her.
She turned harshly upon Katie. “This is—ridiculous! I’m going away to-night!”
“We will talk it over this evening,” replied Kate quietly. “You will wait for that, won’t you? I have something to suggest. And in the end you will be at liberty to do exactly as you think best. Certainly there can be no question as to that.”
On their way home they encountered the throng of men from the shops—dirty, greasy, alien. It was not pleasant—meeting the men when one was driving. And yet, though certainly distasteful, they interested Katie, perhaps just because they were so different. She wondered how they lived and what they talked about.
Chancing to look at Ann, she saw that stranger than the men was the look with which Ann regarded them. She could not make it out. But one thing she did see—the soft spring breezes had much yet to do.
Wayne had gone over to Colonel Leonard’s for bridge. Kate was to have gone too, but had pleaded fatigue. The plea was not wholly hollow. The last thirty hours had not been restful ones.
And now she was to go upstairs and do something which she did not know how to do, or why she was doing. Sitting there alone in the library she grew serious in the thought that a game was something more than a game when played with human beings.
Not that seriousness robbed her of the charm that was her own. The distinctive thing about Katie was that there always seemed a certain light about her, upon her, coming from her. Usually it was as iridescent lights dancing upon the water; but to-night it was more as one light, a more steady, deeper light. It made her gray eyes almost black; made her clear-cut nose and chin seem more finely chiseled than they actually were, and brought out both the strength and the tenderness of her not very small mouth. Katie’s friends, when pinned down to it, always admitted with some little surprise that she was not pretty; they made amends for that, however, in saying that she just missed being beautiful. “But that’s not what you think of when you see her,” they would tell you. “You think, ‘What a good sort! She must be great fun!’” And there were some few who would add: “Katie is the kind you would expect to find doing splendid service in that last ditch.”
Yet even those few were not familiar with the Katie Jones of that moment, for it was a new Katie, less new when leaning forward, tense, puzzled, hand clenched, brow knitted, her whole well-knit, athletic body at attention than when leaning back—lax, open to new and awesome things. And as though she must come back where she felt acquainted with herself, she suddenly began to whistle. Katie found whistling a convenient and pleasant recepticle for excess emotion. She had enjoyed it when a little girl because she had been told it was unladylike; kept it up to find out if it were really true that it would spoil her mouth, and now liked doing it because she could do it so successfully.