Having made up her mind she sought Anne’s room at once. Anne, in a cheap cotton kimono, was braiding her hair for the night. The sleeves of the kimono were short and showed her thin white arms. Amy had on a blanket wrapper. Her hair was in metal curlers. She looked old and tired, and now and then she coughed.
Anne got into bed and drew the covers up to her chin. “I’m so cold, I believe there are icicles on my eyebrows. Amy, my idea of heaven is a place where it is as hot as—Hades.”
“I don’t see where you get such ideas. Ethel and I don’t talk that way. We don’t even think that way, Anne.”
“Maybe when I am as old as you—–” Anne began, and was startled at the look on Amy’s face.
“I’m not old!” Amy said passionately. “Anne, I haven’t lived at all, and I’m only thirty.”
Anne stared at her. “Oh, my darling, I didn’t mean—–”
“Of course you didn’t. And it was silly of me to say such a thing. Anne, I’m cold. I’m going to sit on the foot of your bed and wrap up while I talk to you.”
Anne’s bed had four pineapple posts and a pink canopy. The governor of a state had slept in that bed for years. He was one of the Merryman grandfathers. Amy could have bought mountains of food for the price of that bed. But she would have starved rather than sell it.
Anne under the pink canopy was like a rose—a white rose with a faint flush. The color in Amy’s cheeks was fixed and hard. Yet even with her oldness and tiredness and metal curlers she had the look of race which attracted Murray.
“Anne,” she said, “Murray and I had a long talk about you the other day.”
“Murray always talks—long.” Anne was yawning.
“Please be serious, Anne. He wants to marry you.”
“Marry me!” incredulously. “I thought it was you; or Ethel.”
“Well, it isn’t,” wearily. “And it’s a great opportunity—for you, Anne.”
“Opportunity for what?”
Amy had a sense of the futility of trying to explain.
“There aren’t many men like him.”
“Anne, how can you? He’s really paying you a great compliment.”
“Why didn’t he ask me himself?”
“He didn’t want to startle you. You’re so young. Murray has extreme fineness of feeling.”
Anne tilted her chin. “I don’t see what he finds in me.”
“You’re young”—with a tinge of bitterness—“and he says you are beautiful.”
Anne threw off the covers and set her bare feet on the floor. “Beautiful!” she scoffed, but went to the mirror. “I’m thin,” she meditated, “but I’ve got nice hair.”
“We all have nice hair,” said Amy; “but you’ve got Ethel’s complexion and my figure.”
“I don’t think I want to be loved for my complexion.” Anne turned suddenly and faced her sister. “Or my figure. I’d rather be loved for my mind.”
“Men don’t love women for their minds,” said Amy wearily. “You’ll learn that when you have lived as long as I have. Get back into bed, Anne. You’ll freeze.”