Thus importuned Helen and her mother withdrew and only Morris and Wilford remained to watch that heavy slumber so nearly resembling death.
Gradually the noise in the streets died away; the tread of feet, the rumbling wheels and the tinkle of the car bells ceased, and not a sound was heard, save as the distant fire bells pealed forth their warning voices, or some watchman went hurrying by. The great city was asleep, and to Morris the silence brooding over the countless throng was deeper, more solemn than the silence of the country where nature gives out her own mysterious notes and lullabies for her sleeping children. Slowly the minutes went by, and Morris became at last aware that Wilford’s eyes, instead of resting on the pallid face which seemed to grow each moment more pallid and ghastly, were fixed on him with an expression which made him drop the pale hand he held between his own, pooring it occasionally as a mother might poor and pity the hand of her dying baby.
Before his marriage a jealous thought of Morris Grant had found a lodgment in Wilford’s breast; but remembering the past he had tried to drive it out, and fancied that he had succeeded, experiencing a sudden shock when he felt it lifting its green head, and poisoning his mind against the man doing for Katy only what a brother might do, or rather, against the motives which prompted this man’s devotion. He forgot that it was his own entreaties which had kept Morris there, refusing to let him go even for a day to the other patients missing him so much, and complaining of his absence. Jealous men never reason clearly, and in this case Wilford did not reason at all, but jumped readily at his conclusion, calling to his aid as proof all that he had ever seen pass between Katy and her cousin. That Morris Grant loved Katy was, after a few moment’s reflection, as fixed a fact in his mind as that she lay there between them, her eyelids quivering, and her lips moaning feebly as if about to speak. Years before, when Genevra was the wife, jealousy had made Wilford almost a madman, and it now held him again in its powerful grasp, whispering suggestions he would have spurned in a calm frame of mind. There was a clinching of his fist, a knitting of his brows, and a gathering blackness in his eyes as he listened while Katy, rousing partially from her lethargy, talked of the days when she was a little girl, and Morris had built the playhouse for her by the brook, where the thorn apples grew and the waters fell over the smooth, white rocks.
“Take me back there,” she said, “and let me lie on the grass again. It is so long since I was there, and I’ve suffered so much since then. Wilford meant to be kind, but he did not try to understand or know how I loved the country with its birds and flowers and springing grass by the well, where the shadows come and go. I used to wonder where they were going, and one day when I watched them I was waiting for Wilford, and wishing he would come. Would it have been better if he had never come?”