She couldn’t, of course, have stayed in Centropolis indefinitely. In time, that feeling of mounting energy would have driven her out in search of something that would test it.
But, when Galbraith’s letter came, it took her a little aback. Miss Gibbons had brought it in; because Rose, even then, didn’t go to the post-office. Miss Gibbons watched her tear open the big envelope addressed to Rose in the handwriting that always went with the California post-mark, and saw her take another unopened letter out of it. She saw the girl’s face set itself in a sudden gravity; watched her with a hungry misgiving, while she read the enclosure, and felt the misgiving mount to an unhappy certainty, when Rose put it away without comment.
But Rose wasn’t certain, or she felt that night when she went to bed that she was not. Galbraith’s letter frightened her a little. It was a dictated letter, very stiff, wholly businesslike. It offered to make her his personal assistant at a salary of fifty dollars a week. He summarized in rather formidable terms, what her duties would be. He wished her to report to him promptly, July first, and to telegraph him at her earliest convenience, whether she accepted his offer. There was no explanation of his long delay in sending for her.
Rose had no illusions as to what its acceptance would mean. It would mean gripping life again with the full strength of both hands. It would mean many anxious days and sleepless nights. It would mean spurring herself to a high degree of competency. You didn’t get fifty dollars a week for anything that was easy to do. She knew that now, by hard experience. And then the transplantation to New York would mean an end of the cool healing peace of her present life. Things would begin happening to her that she couldn’t foresee nor control. Feelings would begin happening to her; the kind of feelings that scorched and terrified you. They wouldn’t happen to her here in Centropolis.
She fell asleep that night under the persuasion that the thing wasn’t decided; that the safe, quiet, peaceful way was still open to her. But when she awakened in the morning, she knew it was not.
“I surmise,” said Miss Gibbons that morning at breakfast, “that you’re figuring to go away.”
Rose smiled and sighed. “I don’t know how you guess things like that,” she said, “but it’s true. I must be in New York on the first of July.”
“Well, the sooner the quicker,” said Miss Gibbons dryly. “You came all at once and I guess it’s just as well you should go the same way. I guess neither of us is sorry you came, and I hope you’ll never be sorry you went.”
That was her nearest approach to an affectionate farewell. Rose managed to express her affection and gratitude a little more adequately, but not much. “It isn’t the end of us, you know,” she concluded. “You’re coming to see me in New York.”
Miss Gibbons smiled with good-humored skepticism at that.