And this was true—he was usually busy. But that was not the cause of the thin face, which others than Katy remarked. Helen’s words: “It might have been,” spoken to him on the night of Katy’s bridal, had never left his mind, much as he had tried to dislodge them. Some men can love a dozen times; but it was not so with Morris. He could overcome his love so that it should not be a sin, but no other could ever fill the place where Katy had been; and as he looked along the road through life he felt that he must travel it alone. Truly, if Katy were not yet passing through the fire, he was, and it had left its mark upon him, purifying as it burned, and bringing his every act into closer submission to his God. Only Helen and Marian Hazelton interpreted aright that look upon his face, and knew it came from the hunger of his heart, but they kept silence; while others said that he was working far too hard, urging him to abate his unwearied labors, for they would not lose their young physician yet. But Morris smiled his patient, kindly smile on all their fears and went his way, doing his work as one who knew he must render strict account for the popularity he was daily gaining, both in his own town and those around. He could think of Katy now without a sin, but he was not thinking of her when she came so unexpectedly upon him, and for an instant she almost bore his breath away in her vehement joy.
Quick to note a change in those he knew, he saw that her form was not quite so full, nor her cheeks so round; but she was weary with the voyage, she said, and knowing how seasickness will wear upon one’s strength, Morris imputed it wholly to that, and believed she was, as she professed to be, perfectly happy.
“Come, Katy, we must go now,” Wilford said, as the bell rang its first alarm, and the passengers, some with sandwiches and some with fried cakes in their hands, ran back to find their seats.
“Yes, I know, but I have not asked half I meant to. Oh, how I want to go home with you, Morris,” Katy exclaimed, again throwing her arms around the doctor’s neck as she bade him good-by, and sent fresh messages of love to the friends at home, who, had they known she was to be there at that time, would have walked the entire distance for the sake of looking once more into her dear face.
“I intended to have brought them heaps of things,” she said, “but we came home so suddenly I had no time. Here, take Helen this. Tell her it is real,” and the impulsive creature drew from her finger a small diamond set in black enamel, which Wilford had bought in Paris. “She did not need it; she had two more, and she was sure Wilford would not mind,” she said, turning to him for his approbation.
But Wilford did mind, and his face indicated as much, although he tried to be natural as he replied: “Certainly, send it if you like.”