The more she thought of what she had put into Maurice’s head, the more uneasy she became. Oh, if she only had Jacky! Then, Edith could be as brazen as she pleased, and Maurice would never notice her! “Of course he doesn’t love her; I’m certain of that!” she said again and again,—and all her schemes, wise and foolish, for getting possession of the boy, began to crowd into her mind.
Then an idea came to her which fairly took her breath away! A perfectly wild idea, which she dared not stop to analyze: suppose, instead of sitting here in the cold, she should go, now, boldly, to Lily, and ask for Jacky? “I believe I could persuade her to give him to us! She wouldn’t do it for Maurice, but she might for me!”
She got on her feet with a spring! Her spiritual energy was like her physical energy that night on the mountain. Again she was lifting—lifting! This time it was the weight of a Love which might die! She was dragging it, carrying it! her very soul straining under her purpose of keeping it alive by the touch of a child’s hand! ... Why not go and see Lily now? “She’ll have finished her supper by the time I get to her house; it’s at the very end of Maple Street!” If Lily consented, Eleanor might even get back to her own house in time to see Maurice, and tell him what she had accomplished before he started for his train! But she would have to hurry....
She actually ran out of the park toward the street; then stood for an endless five minutes, waiting for the Medfield car. “Perhaps I can make her let me bring Jacky home with me!” she said—which showed to what heights beyond common sense she had risen.
At the little house on Maple Street she rang the bell, though she had a crazy impulse to bang upon the door to hurry Lily! But she rang, and rang again, before she heard a child’s voice: “Maw. Somebody at the door.”
“Well, go open it, can’t you?”
She heard little scuffing steps on the oilcloth in the hall; then the door opened, and Jacky stood there. He fixed his blue, impersonal eyes upon her, and waited.
“Is your mother in?” Eleanor said, breathlessly.
“Yes, ma’am,” said Jacky.
“Who is it?” Lily called to him; she was somewhere in the back of the house, and Eleanor could hear the clatter of dishes being gathered up from an unseen supper table. Jacky, unable to answer his mother’s question, was calmly silent.