That night Christopher again spoke to Ridgeley. “Anne’s in a bad way.” He told of the walk to the top of the hill.
Ridgeley listened this time, and the next day he took Anne down into his office, and did things to her. “But I don’t see why you are doing all this,” she complained, as he stuck queer instruments in his ears, and made her draw long breaths while he listened.
“Christopher says you get tired when you walk.”
“Well, I do. But there’s nothing really the matter, is there?”
There was a great deal the matter, but there was no hint of it in his manner. If she had not been his wife, he would probably have told her the truth—that she had a few months, perhaps a few years ahead of her. He was apt to be frank with his patients. But he was not frank with Anne. He had intended to tell Christopher at once. But Christopher was away for a week.
In the week that he was separated from her, Christopher learned that he loved Anne; that he had been in love with her from the moment that she had stood among the birches—like one of them in her white slenderness—and had talked to him of guardian angels;—“Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John!”
He did not believe in saints, nor in the angels whose wings seemed to enfold Anne, but he believed in beauty—and Anne’s seemed lighted from within, like an alabaster lamp.
Yet she was very human—and the girl in her and the boy in him had met in the weeks that he had spent with her. They had found a lot of things to do—they had fished in shallow brown streams, they had ridden through miles of lovely country. They had gone forth in search of adventure, and they had found it; in cherries on a tree by the road, and he had climbed the tree and had dropped them down to her, and she had hung them over her ears—He had milked a cow in a pasture as they passed, and they had drunk it with their sandwiches, and had tied up a bill in Anne’s fine handkerchief and had knotted it to the halter of the gentle, golden-eared Guernsey.
But they had found more than adventure—they had found romance—shining upon them everywhere. “If I were a gipsy to follow the road, and she could follow it with me,” Christopher meditated as he sat in the train on his way back to Anne.
But there was Anne’s husband, and Christopher’s friend—and more than all there were all the specters of modern life—all the hideous wheels which must turn if Anne were ever to be his—treachery to Ridgeley—the divorce court—and then, himself and Anne, living the aftermath, of it all, facing, perhaps, disillusion—
“Oh, not that,” Christopher told himself, “she’d never grow less—never anything less than she is—if she could once—care—”
For he did not know whether Anne cared or not. He might guess as he pleased—but there had not been a word between them.
Once more the thought flashed, “If I were a gipsy to follow the road—”