Morris laughed a loud, hearty laugh, which did him good, and emboldened his visitor to say more than she had intended saying:
“You just ask her ag’in. Once ain’t nothing at all, and she’ll come to. She likes you; ’tain’t that which made her say no. It’s some foolish idea about faithfulness to Wilford, as if he deserved that she should be faithful. They never orto have had one another—never; and now that he is well in heaven, as I do suppose he is, it ain’t I who hanker for him to come back. Neither does Katy, and all she needs is a little urging to tell you yes. So ask her again, will you?”
“I think it very doubtful. Katy knew what she was doing, and meant what she said,” Morris replied; and with the consoling remark that if young folks would be fools it was none of her business to bother with them, Aunt Betsy pinned her shawl across her chest, and hunting up both basket and umbrella, bade Morris good-night, and went back across the fields to the farmhouse, hearing from Mrs. Lennox that Katy had gone to bed with a racking headache.
“Just the way I felt when I heard about Joel and Patty,” Aunt Betsy said to herself, and as she remembered what had helped her then, so, fifteen minutes later, she appeared at Katy’s bedside, with a cup of strong sage tea which she bade Katy swallow, telling her it was good for her complaint.
To prevent being urged and annoyed, Katy drank the tea, and then without a question concerning Aunt Betsy’s call at Linwood, lay down upon her pillow, asking to be left alone.
“Are you of the same mind still?” Helen asked, when, three weeks later, she returned from New York, and at the hour for retiring sat in her chamber watching Katy as she brushed her wavy hair, occasionally curling a tress around her fingers and letting it fall upon her snowy nightdress.
They had been talking of Morris, whom Katy had only seen once since that rainy night, and that at church, where he had come the previous Sunday. Katy had written an account of the transaction to her sister, who had chosen to reply by word of mouth rather than by letter, and so the first moment they were alone she seized the opportunity to ask if Katy was of the same mind still as when she refused the doctor.
“Yes; why shouldn’t I be?” Katy replied. “You better than any one else knew what passed between Wilford and me concerning Morris, and you can—”
“Do you love Morris?” Helen asked, abruptly, without waiting for Katy to finish her sentence.
For an instant the hands stopped in their work, and Katy’s eyes filled with tears, which dropped into her lap as she replied:
“More than I wish I did, seeing I must always tell him no. It’s strange, too, how the love for him keeps coming in spite of all I can do. I have not been there since, nor spoken with him until last Sunday, but though I did not know he was coming, I knew the moment he entered the church, and when in the first chant I heard his voice, my fingers trembled so that I could scarcely play, while all the time my heart goes out after the rest I always find with him. But it cannot be.”