Seeing the look on his face, I said to myself: “Kitty Canary, it is all over. A pin has been stuck in your balloon and the air is out.” And I got up and went in and danced with every man dancer in the room, and hardly knew who they were, the breaks were so often. I had a good time, but also I had a right sinky feeling, for it’s pretty wabbly to realize that nothing human is to be depended on very long, and that a girl may be engaged one day to a man and not speaking to him the next. Not that I had ever been engaged. I hadn’t, not caring for what goes with engagements, but I might have been if I hadn’t remembered about the different things I have fallen in and been fished out of when there was some one by to haul me out. Nobody being by, I had to take care of myself, and I thought it best to go only so far and no farther.
On the way home Whythe tried to say some things pretty low about how he had missed me while away, but Miss Susanna and Miss Araminta were in the back seat of the car (it was Mr. Lipscomb’s Ford, and borrowed, of course), and he had to be so careful it was a strain, and as I didn’t answer he stopped after a while. It takes two to do more things than make a bargain, and to battledore love without having it shuttlecocked back isn’t much fun. He wanted to know what was the matter when I got out, and I told him it was sleep. He didn’t seem to like that, either. It’s hard to please men.
I didn’t see Whythe for the next few days, as I thought it best not to, and, besides, I had bushels of letters to write and a very special one to Father, and I had no time for him. The thing I had to write Father about was money. I wanted five hundred dollars, and the only way I knew how to get it was to ask him to give it to me; so I asked. I always did believe that the person who gives the money ought to be told what is to be done with it, and that is why I wrote Father as I did; and, besides, he likes to hear little bits of news about the Twickenham-Towners, and asking for the money gave me a chance to tell him.
He had told me, when he was here, that if there was any way in which I could be of service in the right way to let him know and he would put up the money part, if I would manage the other part, and it would be a little secret between us and nobody else need know anything about it. When, last week, I heard Mrs. Richard Stafford say she would rather go to a hospital for a month than do anything on earth, I thought my chance had come. At the hospital, she said, a person had the right to be waited on and do nothing, and not think about food or servants, and not feel they were bothering other people by being sick; and while she wasn’t sick exactly, a hospital would seem like heaven if she could be in one for a little while. She had laughed when she said it, and didn’t dream of its being taken in earnest, but I took it in earnest, for the tiredness in her face makes me ache every time I see her, and right up in my mind popped the little secret Father and I and Miss Polk could have. What I wrote was this: