But the Young Doctor was shaking his head.
“She hasn’t had any love affair,” he told the Superintendent. “She’s too young and full of ideals to have anything so ordinary as a romance. Everybody,” his laugh was not too pleasant, “can have a romance! And few people can be so filled with ideals as Miss Thompson. Oh, it’s her ideals that I can’t stand! It’s her impractical way of gazing at life through pink-coloured glasses. She’ll never be of any real use here in the slums. I’m only afraid that she’ll come to some harm because she’s so trusting and over-sincere. I’d hate to see her placed in direct contact with some of the young men that I work with, for instance. You haven’t—” All at once his voice took on a new note. “You haven’t let her be with any of the boys’ classes, have you? Her ideals might not stand the strain!”
The Superintendent answered.
“Ideals don’t hurt any one,” she said, and her voice was almost as fierce as the doctor’s. “No, I haven’t given her a bit of work with the boys. She’s too young and too untouched and, as you say, too pretty. I’m letting her spend her time with the mothers, and the young girls, and the little tots—not even allowing her to go out alone, if I can help it. Such innocence—” The Superintendent broke off suddenly in the middle of the sentence. And she sighed again.
Crying helps, sometimes. When Rose-Marie, alone in her room, finally dried away the tears that were the direct result of her quarrel with Dr. Blanchard, there was a new resolve in her eyes—a look that had not been there when she went, an hour before, to the luncheon table. It was the look of one who has resolutions that cannot be shattered—dreams that are unbreakable. She glanced at her wrist watch and there was a shade of defiance in the very way she raised the arm that wore it.
“They make a baby of me here,” she told herself, “they treat me like a silly child. It’s a wonder that they don’t send a nurse-maid with me to my classes. It’s a wonder”—she was growing vehement—“that they give me credit for enough sense to wear rubbers when it’s raining! I,” again she glanced at the watch, “I haven’t a single thing to do until four o’clock—and it’s only just a little after two. I’m going out—now. I’m going into the streets, or into a tenement, or into a—a dive, if necessary! I’m going to show them”—the plural pronoun, strangely, referred to a certain young man—“that I can help somebody! I’m going to show them—”
She was struggling eagerly into her coat; eagerly she pulled her tam-o’-shanter over the curls that, even in the city slums, were full of sunshine. With her hands thrust staunchly into her pockets, she went out; out into the jungle of streets that met, as in the center of a labyrinth, in front of the Settlement House.