“Oh no!” The girl’s face became the pallor that frightens, and on either side of her a hand was dug in the couch on which she was sitting. “I’m all right now. I don’t want a cab. I just want to go, and by myself. Please let me go!”
The last words were lost in a sob, and coming close to her I sat beside her, and, putting my hand on her face, turned it slightly that I might better see the big, black bruise on her forehead, partly hidden by the loose, dark curls which fell across it. Her hair was short and thick and parted on the side, giving her a youthful, boyish look that was in odd contrast to the sudden terror in her eyes, and for the first time I saw how slight and frail she was, saw that about her which baffled and puzzled me, and which I could not analyze. She wore no hat, and the red scarf around her neck was the only touch of color in her otherwise dark dress. The lips of her large, sweet, sensuous mouth were as colorless as her face.
“You have been hurt.” I put my hand on her trembling ones. “Did some one strike you or did you fall?”
She shook her head and drew her hands away. “I wasn’t hurt. I—I slipped and fell and struck my head on the pavement. Don’t let anybody telephone. I can go alone. Please—please let me go! I must go! I can’t stay here.”
“But you mustn’t go alone.” I turned to Selwyn. “Mr. Thorne will go with you. Do you live far from here?”
“Not very. It’s close enough for me to go by myself. He mustn’t go with me.” The words came stumblingly, and again I saw the quick, frightened look she gave Selwyn, a look in which was indecision and appeal, as well as fear, and I saw, too, that his face flushed as he turned away.
With quick movement the girl got up. From her throat came a sound hysterical and choking, and, putting her hand to it, she looked first at me and then at Mrs. Mundy, but at Selwyn she did not look again. “I’m going. Thank you for letting me come in.” Blindly she staggered to the door, her hands outstretched as if to feel what she could not see. At it she turned and in her face was that which keeps me awake at night, which haunts and hurts and seems to be crying to me to do something which I know not how to do.
“You poor child!” I started toward her. “You must not go alone.” But before I could reach her she fell in a heap at the door, and as one dead she lay limp and white and piteously pretty on the floor.
I don’t understand Mrs. Mundy. She acts so queerly about the girl we found on the street last night. She put her to bed, after she had recovered from her fainting spell, on a cot in the room next to her own, but this morning she told me the girl had gone, and would tell me nothing else.
When Selwyn, who had picked her up and laid her on the couch, asked if he should not get a doctor, Mrs. Mundy had said no, and said it so positively that he offered to do nothing else. And then she thanked him and told him good night in such a way he understood it was best he Should go.