Again Mrs. Mundy shook her head. “I think he wanted to talk to you about something he couldn’t send messages about.”
Selwyn has been gone two weeks. I have heard nothing from him. I do not even know where he is.
Yesterday, over the telephone, Kitty reproached me indignantly for not coming oftener to see her. Each week I try to take lunch or dinner with her, but there have been weeks when I could not see her, when I could not get away. Scarborough Square and the Avenue are not mixable, and just now Scarborough Square is taking all my time.
Daily new demands are being made upon me, new opportunities opening, new friendships being formed, and though my new friends are very interesting to me, I hardly think they would be to Kitty. I rarely speak of them to her.
Miss Hardy, the woman labor inspector for the state, a girl who had worked in various factories since she was twelve and who had gotten her education at a night school, where often she fell asleep at her desk, I find both entertaining and instructing, but Kitty would not care for her. She wears spectacles, and Kitty has an unyielding antipathy for women who wear spectacles. Neither would she care for Miss Bayne, another state employee, a clever, capable woman who is an expert in her line. It is her business to discover feeble-mindedness, to test school children, and inmates of institutions to which they have been sent, or of places to which they have gone because of incapacity or delinquency or sin of any sort; and nothing I have read in books has been so revealing concerning conditions that exist as her frank statements simply told.
In my sitting-room at Scarborough Square she comes in frequently for tea with me, and meets there Fannie Harris, the teacher of an open-air school for the tuberculosis children of our neighborhood; and Martha White, the district nurse for our particular section; meets Miss Hay, a probation officer of the Juvenile Court, and Loulie Hill, a girl from the country who had once gone wrong, and who is now trying to keep straight on five dollars a week made in the sewing-room of one of the city’s hospitals. Bettie Flynn, who lives at the City Home because of epileptic fits, also comes in occasionally. Bettie is a friend of Mrs. Mundy. Owing to kinlessness and inability to care for herself, owing, also, to there being nowhere else to which she could go, she has been forced to enter the Home. Her caustic comments on its management are of a clear-cut variety. Bettie was born for a satirist and became an epileptic. The result at times is speech that is not guarded, a calling of things by names that are their own.
These and various others who are facing at short range realities of which I have long been personally ignorant, are taking me into new worlds, pumping streams of new understandings, new outreaches, into my brain and heart, and life has become big and many-sided, and a thing not to be wasted. Myself of the old life I am seeing as I never saw before, seeing in a perspective that does not fill with pride.