As his train sped through the countryside, he became aware of flaming bill-boards—a circus was showing in the towns—the fences fairly blazed with golden chariots, wild beasts, cheap gods and goddesses, clowns in frilled collars and peaked hats. He remembered a glorious day that he had spent as a boy!
“I’ll take Anne,” was his sudden decision.
He laughed to himself, and spent the rest of the way in seeing her at it. They would drink pink lemonade, and there would be pop-corn balls—the entrancing smell of sawdust—the beat of the band. He hoped there would be a tom-tom, and some of the dark people from the Far East.
He reached his destination at seven o’clock. Dunbar met him at the station. Anne sat with her husband, and Jeanette was in the back seat. Christopher had, therefore, a side view of Anne as she turned a little that she might talk to him. The glint of her bright hair under her gray sports hat, the light of welcome in her eyes—!
“I am going to take you to the circus to-morrow. Ridgeley, you’ll go too?”
Dunbar shook his head. “I’ve got to get back to town in the morning. And I’m not sure that the excitement will be good for Anne.”
“Why not?” quickly. “Aren’t you well, Anne?”
She shrugged her shoulders. “Ridgeley seems to think I’m not. But the circus can’t hurt me.”
Nothing more was said about it. Christopher decided to ask Ridgeley later. But the opportunity did not come until Anne had gone up-stairs, and Dunbar and Christopher were smoking a final cigar on the porch.
“What’s the matter with her?” Christopher asked.
Dunbar told him, “She can’t get well.”
Anne, getting ready for bed, on the evening of Christopher’s arrival, felt unaccountably tired. His presence had been, perhaps, a bit over-stimulating. It was good to have him back. She scarcely dared admit to herself how good. After dinner she and Ridgeley and Christopher had walked down to the grove of birches. There had been a new moon, and she and Ridgeley had sat on the stone bench with Christopher at their feet. She had leaned her head against her husband’s shoulder, and he had put his arm about her in the dark and had drawn her to him. He was rarely demonstrative, and his tenderness had to-night for some reason hurt her. She had learned to do without it.
She had talked very little, but Christopher had talked a great deal. She had been content to listen. He really told such wonderful things—he gave her to-night the full story of her silver beads, and how they had been filched from an ancient temple—and he had bought them from the thief. “Until I saw you wear them, I always had a feeling that they ought to go back to the temple—to the god who had perhaps worn them for a thousand years. If I had known which god, I might have carried them back. But the thief wouldn’t tell me.”