Morris could not comfort her then, for he needed it the most, and so in silence he left her and went on his way to Linwood, which seemed as if a funeral train had left it, bearing away all Morris’ life and love, and leaving only a cheerless blank. It was well for him that there were many sick ones on his list, for in attending to them he forgot himself in part so that the day with him passed faster than at the farmhouse, where life and its interests seemed suddenly to have stopped. Nothing had power to rouse Helen, who never realized how much she loved her young sister until now, when, with swelling heart she listlessly put to rights the room which had been theirs so long, but which was now hers alone. It was a sad task picking up that disordered chamber bearing so many traces of Katy, and Helen’s heart ached terribly as she hung away the little pink calico dressing gown in which Katy had looked so pretty, and picked up from the floor the pile of skirts lying just where they had been left the previous night; but when it came to the little half-worn slippers which had been thrown one here and another there as Katy danced out of them, she could control herself no longer, and stopping in her work sobbed bitterly: “Oh, Katy, Katy, how can I live without you?” But tears could not bring Katy back, and knowing this, Helen dried her eyes ere long and joined the family below, who like herself were spiritless and sad.
It was some little solace to them all that day to follow Katy in her journey, saying, she is at Worcester, or Framingham, or Newtown, and when at noon they sat down to their dinner in the tidy kitchen, they said: “She is in Boston,” and the saying so made the time which had elapsed since the morning seem interminable. Slowly the hours dragged, and at last, before the sunsetting, Helen, who could bear the loneliness of home no longer, stole across the fields to Linwood, hoping in Morris’ companionship to forget her own grief in part. But Morris was a sorry comforter then. If the day had been sad to Helen, it had been doubly so to him. He had ministered as usual to his patients, listening to their complaints and answering patiently their inquiries; but amid it all he walked as in a maze, hearing nothing except the words: “I, Katy, take thee, Wilford, to be my wedded husband,” and seeing nothing but the airy little figure which stood up on tiptoe for him to kiss its lips at parting. His work for the day was over now, and he sat alone in his library when Helen came hurriedly in, staring at sight of his face, and asking if he was ill.
“I have had a hard day’s work,” he said. “I am always tired at night,” and he tried to smile and appear natural. “Are you very lonely at the farmhouse?” he asked, and then Helen broke out afresh, mourning sometimes for Katy, and again denouncing Wilford as proud and heartless.