“He is. When he takes me out to lunch he thinks of himself, not of me. The last time we had grapefruit and broiled mushrooms and lettuce; and I wanted chops.”
Maxwell had been glad to see Anne eat the chocolates. She had seemed as happy as a child, and he had liked that. There was nothing childish about Winifred. She had been always grown-up and competent and helpful. He felt that he owed Winifred a great deal. They were not engaged, but he rather hoped that some day they might marry. Of course that would depend upon Winifred. She would probably make him give up the farm and he would hate that. But a man might give up a farm for a woman like Winifred and still have more than he deserved.
It will be seen that Maxwell was modest, especially where women were concerned. The complacency of Murray Flint, weighing Amy against Ethel and Ethel against Amy and Anne against both, would have seemed infamous to Maxwell. He felt that it was only by the grace of God that any woman gave herself to any man. He had a sense of honor which was founded on decency rather than on convention. He had also a sense of high romance which belonged more fittingly to the fifteenth than to the twentieth century. He was not, however, aware of it. He looked upon himself as a plain and practical chap who had a few things to work out politically before he settled down to the serious business of farming. Of course if he married Winifred he wouldn’t settle down to the farm, but he would settle down to something.
In the meantime here was Anne, reading Dickens, eating chocolates, and leaning over the rail of the House Gallery to listen to his speeches.
It was rather wonderful to have her there. She wore a gray cape with a chinchilla collar made out of Amy’s old muff. A straight sailor hat of rough straw came well down over her forehead and showed fluffs of shining hair at the sides. Her little gray-gloved hands clasped the violets he had given her. Above the violets her eyes were a deeper blue.
She came always alone. “Amy doesn’t know,” she had told him frankly; “she wouldn’t let me, come if she did.”
“I am supposed to be chaperoned.”
“My dear child, I told you to bring either or both of your sisters.”
“I don’t want them. They would spoil it.”
She tried to explain. He and she could see things in the old Capitol that Amy and Ethel couldn’t.
He laughed, but knew it true. Anne’s imagination met his in a rather remarkable fashion. When they walked through Statuary Hall they saw not Fulton and Pere Marquette and Carroll of Carrollton; they saw, rather, a thousand ships issuing forth on the steam of a teakettle; they saw civilization following a black-frocked prophet; they saw aristocracy raising its voice in the interest of democracy.
As for the mysterious whispering echo, they repudiated all talk of acoustics. It was for them an eerie thing, like the laughter of elves or the shriek of a banshee.