But Winifred was not glad. “You are sure you are making no mistake, Max?”
“Wait till you see her.”
Winifred waited and saw. “She’s not in the least in love with him. She likes the warm nest she has fallen into. And she’ll spoil his future. He’ll settle down here, and he belongs to the world.”
He belonged at least to his constituency.
“I’ve got to make a speech,” he told the three women one morning, “in a town twenty miles away. If you girls would like the ride you can motor over with me. You needn’t listen to my speech if you don’t want to.”
Amy and Winifred said that of course they wanted to listen. Anne smiled happily and said nothing. She was, of course, glad to go, but Maxwell’s speeches were to her the abstract things of life; the concrete things at this moment were the delicious dinner which was before her and the fact that in the barn, curled up in the hay, was a new family of kittens—little tabbies like their adoring mother.
“Isn’t it a lovely world?” she had said to her lover as she had sat in the loft with the cuddly cats in her lap.
He knew that it was not all lovely, that somewhere there were lean and hungry kittens and lean and hungry folks—but why remind her at such a moment?
On the way over Anne sat with Winifred. She had insisted that Amy should have the front seat with Max. Amy was much better. Life had begun to flow into her veins like wine. She had written to Murray: “It is as if a miracle had happened.”
Winifred, on the back seat, talked to Anne. She had a great deal to say about Maxwell’s future. “I am sorry he bought the farm.”
“Oh, not really.” Anne’s attention strayed. She had one of the puppies in her lap. He kept peeping out from between the folds of her cape with his bright eyes. “Isn’t he a darling, Winifred?”
“He ought to sell it.” Winifred liked dogs, but at this moment she wanted Anne’s attention. “He ought to sell the farm. He has a great future before him. Everybody says it. He simply must not settle down.”
“Oh, well, he won’t,” said Anne easily.
“He will if you let him.”
“If I let him?”
“If he thinks you like it.”
There was a deep flush on Winifred’s cheeks. She was really a very handsome girl, with bright brown hair and brown eyes. She wore a small brown hat and a sable collar. The collar was open and showed her strong white throat.
“If he thinks you like it,” she repeated, “he will stay; and he belongs to the world; nobody must hold him back. He’s the biggest man in his party to-day. There is no limit to his powers.”
Anne stared at her. “Of course there isn’t.” She wondered why Winifred seemed so terribly in earnest about it. She pulled the puppy’s ears. “But I should hate to have him sell the farm.”