“Thanks awfully for the hint,” returned Wayne quietly. “I had been meaning to speak first of her father’s funeral. I thought I would follow that with a searching inquiry into her mother’s last illness. But of course if you think this not wise I am glad to be guided by your judgment, Katie.”
“Wayne!” she reproached laughingly. “Now you know well enough! I simply meant if you saw Ann wished to avoid a subject, not to pursue it.”
“Thanks again, dear Sister Kate, for these easy lessons in behavior. Rule 1—”
But she waved it laughingly aside, rising to leave him. “Just the same,” she maintained, from the doorway, “experience may make the familiar things—and dear things—the very things of which one wishes least to speak. Talk to Ann about the army, Wayne; talk about—”
But as he was holding out note-book and pencil she beat grimacing retreat.
That night Miss Jones dreamed. The world had been all shaken up and everything was confused and no one could put it to rights. All those dames whose ancestors had sailed unknown waters were in the front row of the chorus, and all the chorus girls were dancing a stately minuet at Old Point Comfort. Elizabeth Barrett Browning was trying to commit suicide by becoming a biological freak, and the Madonna of the Chair was wearing a smartly tailored brown rajah suit.
Peacefully and pleasantly one day slipped after another. Some thirty of them had joined their unnumbered fellows and to-morrow bade fair to pass serenely as yesterday. “This, dear Queen,” Katie confided to the dog stretched at her feet, “is what in vulgar parlance is known as ’nothing doing,’ and in poetic language is termed the ‘simple life.’”
Thirty days of “nothing doing”—and yet there had been more “doing” in those days than in all the thousands of their predecessors gaily crowded to the brim. Those crowded days seemed days of a long sleep; these quiet ones, days of waking.
Ann was out on the links that afternoon with Captain Prescott. From her place on the porch Katie had a glimpse of them at that moment. Ann’s white dress with its big knot of red ribbon was a vivid and a pleasing spot. The olive of the Captain’s uniform seemed part of the background of turf and trees—all of it for Ann, so live and so pretty in white and red.
He was seeking to correct her stroke. Both were much in earnest about it. It would seem that the whole of Ann’s life hung upon that thing of better form in her golf. Finally she made a fair drive and turned to him jubilantly. He was commending enthusiastically and Ann quite pranced under his enthusiasm. Seeing Katie, she waved her hand and pointed off to her ball that Katie, too, might mark the triumph. Then they came along, laughing and chatting. When the ball was reached they were in about the spot where Katie had first seen Ann, thirty days before.