“Why not send for her?” Mark asked, casting about in his mind whether in case Helen came, he, too, could tarry for a week and leave that business in Southbridge, which he must attend to ere returning to the city.
It would be a study to watch Helen Lennox there at Newport, and in imagination Mark was already her sworn knight, shielding her from criticism, and commanding her respect from those who respected him, when Katy tore his castle down by answering impulsively:
“I doubt if Wilford would let me send for her here, nor does it matter, as I shall not remain much longer. I do not need her now, since you have showed me how foolish I have been. I was angry at first, but now I thank you for it, and so would Helen. I shall tell her when I am in Silverton. I am going there from here, and oh, I so wish it was to-day.”
The guests were beginning to return from the beach by this time, and as Mark had said all he had intended saying, and even more, he left Katy with Wilford, who had just come in and joined a merry party of Bostonians only that day arrived. That night at the Ocean House the guests missed something from their festivities; the dance was not so exhilarating or the small-talk between them so lively, while more than one white-kidded dandy swore mentally at the innocent Wilford, whose wife declined to join in the gayeties, and in a plain white muslin, with only a pond lily in her hair, kept by her husband’s side, notwithstanding that he more than once bade her leave him and accept some of her numerous invitations to join the giddy dance. This sober phase of Katy did not on the whole please Wilford as much as her gayer ones had done. Perfectly sure of her devotion to himself, he liked to watch her as she glided amid the throng which paid her so much homage. All he had ever dreamed of the sensation his bride would create was more than verified. Katy had fulfilled his highest expectations, reaching a point from which, as she had said to Mark, she could even dictate to his mother, if she chose, and he did not care to see her relinquish it.
But Katy remained true to herself. Dropping her girlish playfulness she assumed a quiet, gentle dignity, which became her even better than her gayer mood had done, making her ten times more popular and more sought after, until she begged to go away, persuading Wilford at last to name the day for their departure, and then, never doubting for a moment that her destination was Silverton, she wrote to Helen that she was coming on such a day, and as they would come by way of Providence and Worcester, they would probably reach West Silverton at ten o’clock, A.M.
“Wilford,” she added, in a postscript, “has gone down to bathe, and as the mail is just closing, I shall send this letter without his seeing it. Of course it can make no difference, for I have talked all summer of coming, and he understands it.”