It is not strange that this letter, followed so soon by the telegram from Marian, should crush one as delicate as Katy, or that for a few minutes she should have been stunned with the shock, so as neither to feel nor think. But the reaction came soon enough, bringing with it only the remembrance of Wilford’s love. All the wrong, the harshness, was forgotten, and only the desire remained to fly at once to Wilford, talking of her in his delirium. Bravely she kept up until New York was reached, but once where Helen was, the tension of her nerves gave way, and she fainted, so we have seen.
At Father Cameron’s that night there were troubled, anxious faces, for they, too, had heard of Wilford’s danger. But the mother could not go to him. A lung difficulty, to which she was subject, had confined her to the house for many days, and so it was the father and Bell who made their hasty preparations for the hurried journey to Georgetown. They heard of Katy’s arrival and Bell came at once to see her.
“She will not be able to join us to-morrow,” was the report Bell carried home, for she saw more than mere exhaustion from fatigue and fainting in the white face lying so motionless on Helen’s pillow, with the dark rings about the eyes, and the quiver of the muscles about the mouth.
The morrow found that Bell was right, for Katy could not rise, but lay like some crushed flower still on Helen’s bed, moaning softly:
“It is very hard, but God knows best.”
“Yes, darling, God knows best,” Helen answered, smoothing the bright hair, and thinking sadly of the young officer sitting by his camp-fire, and waiting so eagerly for the bride who could not go to him now. “God knows what is best, and does all for the best.”
Katy said it many times that long, long week, during which she stayed an invalid in Helen’s room, living from day to day upon the letters sent by Bell, who had gone on to Georgetown with her father, and who gave but little hope that Wilford would recover. Not a word did she say of Marian, and only twice did she mention Morris, so that when at last Katy was strong enough to venture on the journey, she had but little idea of what had transpired in Wilford’s sickroom.
* * * * *
Those were sad, weary days which Wilford first passed upon his hospital cot, and as he was not sick but crippled, he had ample time for reviewing the past, which came up before his mind as vividly as if he had been living again the scenes of bygone days. Of Katy he thought continually, blaming himself much, but so strong was his pride and selfishness, blaming her more for the trouble which had come upon them. Why need she have taken the Genevra matter so to heart, going with it to Morris and so bringing him into his present disagreeable situation. He did not mean to be unjust or unkind toward Katy, but he looked upon her as the direct cause of his being where he was.