“My head aches,” said Ann, but the tension of her voice broke on a sob. “If you don’t mind—I’ll stay here.” She looked up at her in a way which remotely suggested the look of that little dog the day before, “Katie, I don’t mean you. When I say things like that—I don’t mean you. I mean—I suppose I mean—the things back of you. All those things—”
She stopped, but Katie did not speak. “You see,” said Ann, “there are two worlds, and you and I are in different ones.”
“I don’t believe in two worlds,” said Katie promptly. “It’s not a democratic view of things. It’s all one world.”
“Your Miss Osborne and the fifty cents a day girls—all one world? I am afraid,” laughed Ann tremulously, “that even the ’underlying principles of life’ would have a hard time making them one.”
Even on the river it was not yet cool. Day had burned itself too deeply upon the earth for approaching night to hold messages for even its favorite messenger. Katie was herself at the steering wheel, and alone with Worth and Queen. She had learned to manage the boat, and much to the disappointment of Watts and the disapproval of Wayne sometimes went about on the river unattended. Katie contended that as a good swimmer and not a bad mechanic she was entitled to freedom in the matter. She held that to be taken about in a boat had no relation to taking a boat and going about in it; that when Watts went her soul stayed home.
Tonight, especially, she would have the boat for what it meant to self; for to Katie, too, the sultry day had become more than sultry day. The thing which pressed upon her seemed less humidity than the consciousness of a world she did not know. It was not the heat which was fretting her so much as that growing sense of limitations in her thought and experience.
She wondered what the man who mended the boats would say about Ann’s two worlds.
She suspected that he would agree with Ann, and then proceeded to work herself into a fine passion at his agreeing with Ann against her. “That silly thing of two worlds is fixed up by people who can’t get along in the one world,” said she. “And that childish idea of one world is clung to by people who don’t know the real world,” retorted the trouble-maker.
To either side of the river were factories. Katie had never given much thought to factories beyond the thought that they disfigured the landscape. Now she wondered what the people who had spent that hot day in the unsightly buildings thought about the world in general—be it one world or two.
Worth had come up to the front of the boat. The day had weighed upon him too, for he seemed a wistful little boy just then.
She smiled at him lovingly. “What thinking about, Worthie dear?”
“Oh, I wasn’t thinking, Aunt Kate,” he replied soberly. “I was just wondering.”