Early in the morning she went into Amy’s room. “Amy,” she said, “how soon do you think we can go to Aunt Elizabeth’s?”
“Aunt Elizabeth’s? Why, Anne?”
“I want to leave here.”
“To leave here?” Amy sat up. Even in the bright light of the morning her face looked young. Good food and fresh air had done much for her. It had been quite heavenly, too, to let care slip away, to have no thought of what she should eat or what she should drink or what she should wear. “To leave here? I thought you loved it, Anne.”
“I’ve got to get away. I’m not going to marry Maxwell, Amy.”
“Anne! What made you change your mind?”
“I can’t tell you. Please don’t ask me. But I wish you would write to Aunt Elizabeth.”
“I had a letter from her yesterday. She says we can come at any time. But—have you told Max?”
“Has he done anything?”
“No. It’s just—that I can’t marry him. Don’t ask me, Amy.” She broke down in a storm of tears.
Amy, soothing her, wondered if after all Anne cared for Murray Flint. It was, she felt, the only solution possible. Surely a girl would not throw away a chance to marry a man like Maxwell Sears for nothing.
For Amy had learned in the days that she had spent at the farm that Maxwell Sears was a man to reckon with. She was very grateful for what he had done for her, and she had been glad of Anne’s engagement. Murray would perhaps be disappointed, but there would still be herself and Ethel.
It was not easy to explain things to Maxwell.
“Why are you going now?” he demanded, and was impatient when they told him that Aunt Elizabeth expected them. “I don’t understand it at all. It upsets all of my plans for you, Anne.”
That night when he brought Anne’s candle she was not on the stairs. Winifred and Amy had gone up.
“Anne! Anne!” he called softly.
She came to the top rail and leaned over. “I’m going to bed in the dark. There’s a wonderful moon.”
“Come down—for a minute.”
“Then I’ll come up,” masterfully.
He mounted the stairs two at a time; but when he reached the landing the door was shut!
In the morning he asked her about it. “Why, dearest?”
“Max dear, I can’t marry you.”
“Nonsense!” His voice was sharp. He laid his hands heavily on her shoulders. “Why not? Look at me, Anne. Why not?”
“I’m not going to marry—anybody.”
That was all he could get out of her. He pleaded, raged, and grew at last white and still with anger. “You might at least tell me your reasons.”
She said that she would write. Perhaps she could
say it better on paper.
And she was very, very sorry, but she couldn’t.
Winifred knew that something was up, but made no comment. Amy, carrying out their program of departure, had a sense of regret.