Very pleasant indeed were the pictures Katy drew of the new house where Helen was to come, but pleasanter far were her pictures of that visit to Silverton, to occur in April, and about which she thought so much, dreaming of it many a night, and waking in the morning with the belief that she had actually been where the young buds were swelling and the fresh grass was springing by the door. Poor Katy, how much she thought about that visit when she should see them all and go again with Uncle Ephraim down into the meadows, making believe she was Katy Lennox still—when she could climb the ladder in the barn after new-laid eggs, or steal across the fields to Linwood, talking with Morris as she used to talk in the days which seemed so long ago. Morris she feared was not liking her as well as of old, thinking her very frivolous and silly, for he had only written her one short note in reply to the letter she had sent, telling him of the opera, the parties she attended, and the gay, happy life she led, for to him she would not then confess that in her cup of joy there was a single bitter dreg. All was bright and fair, she said, and Morris had replied that he was glad. “But do not forget that death can find you even there amid your splendor, or that after death the judgment comes, and then what shall it profit you if you gain the whole world and lose your own soul.”
These words had rung in Katy’s ears for many a day, following her to the dance and to the opera, where even the music was drowned by the echo of the words, “lose your own soul.” But the sting grew less and less, till Katy no longer felt it, and now was only anxious to talk with Morris and convince him that she was not as thoughtless as he might suppose, that she still remembered his teachings, remembered the Sunday school and the little church in the valley, preferring it to the handsome, aristocratic house where she went with the Camerons once on every Sunday, and would willingly go twice if Wilford would go with her. But the Camerons were merely fashionable churchgoers, and so their afternoons were spent at home, Katy enjoying them vastly because she usually had Wilford all to herself in her own room, a thing which did not often occur during the weekdays.
There was a kind of peace to be made with Helen, too, Katy feared; for Helen had sent back the diamond ring, saying it was not suitable for her, but never hinting that she had drawn from Morris the inference that Wilford was not well pleased at having his wife thus dispose of his costly presents. Katy had cried when she received the ring, feeling that something was wrong and longing so much for the time when she could make it right.
“One more week and then it is April,” she said to Wilford one evening after they had retired to their room, and she was talking of Silverton. “I guess I had better go about the tenth. Shall you stay as long as I do?”
Wilford bit his lip, and after a moment replied: