Wilford’s letters, though not unkind, were never very satisfactory, and always brought on a racking headache, from which she suffered intently. He had censured her at first for going back to Silverton, when he preferred she should stay in New York, hinting darkly at the reason of her choice, and saying to her once, when she told him how the Sunday before her twenty-first birthday she had knelt before the altar and taken upon herself the vows of confirmation: “Your saintly cousin is, of course, delighted, and that I suppose is sufficient, without my congratulations.”
Perhaps he did not mean it, but he seemed to take delight in teasing her, and Katy sometimes felt she should be happier without his letters than with them. He had never said he was sorry he had left her so suddenly—indeed he seldom referred to the past in any way; or if he did it was in a manner which showed that he thought himself the injured party, if either. Once, indeed, he did admit that, in calmly reviewing the whole thing, he saw no reason now to believe that in the matter of Dr. Grant she had been to blame, except in going to him with her trouble and so bringing about the present unfortunate state of affairs. This was the nearest to a concession on his part of anything he made; but it did Katy a world of good, brightening up her face, and making her even dare to meet Morris alone and speak to him naturally. Ever since her return to Silverton she had studiously avoided him, and a stranger might have said they were wholly indifferent to each other; but that stranger would not have known of Morris’ daily self-discipline or of the one little spot in Katy’s heart kept warm and sunny by the knowing that Morris Grant had loved her, even if the love had died, as she hoped it had. It would be better for them all, and so, lest by word or deed she should keep the germ alive, she seldom addressed him directly, and never went to Linwood unless some one was with her to prevent her being left with him alone. A life like this could not be pleasant for Morris, and as there seemed to be a lack of competent physicians in the army, he, after prayerful deliberation, accepted a situation offered him as surgeon in a Georgetown hospital, and early in June left Silverton for his new field of labor.
True to her promise, Bell came at the last of July to Silverton, proving herself a dreadful romp as she climbed over the rocks in Aunt Betsy’s famous sheep pasture, or raked the hay in the meadow, and proving herself, too, a genuine woman, as with blanced cheek and anxious heart she waited for tidings from the battles before Richmond, where the tide of success seemed to turn, and the North, hitherto so jubilant and hopeful, wore weeds of mourning from Maine to Oregon. Lieutenant Bob was there, and Wilford, too; and so was Captain Ray, digging in the marshy swamps, where death floated up in poisonous exhalations—plodding on the weary march, and fighting all through the seven