He rose, white and shaken. “Do you call it victory when one man stabs another through the heart? Well, if this is your victory, Bigelow—you are welcome to it.”
In Which Mary Bids Farewell to the Old Life; and in Which She Finds Happiness on the High Seas.
Contrary Mary was Contrary Mary no longer. Since Roger had gone, taking Cousin Patty with him—gone without the word to her for which she had waited, she had submitted to Gordon’s plans for her, and to Aunt Frances’ and Porter’s execution of them.
Only to Grace did she show any signs of her old rebellion.
“Did you ever think that I should be beaten, Grace?” she said, pitifully. “Is that the way with all women? Do we reach out for so much, and then take what we can get?”
Grace pondered. “Things tie us down, but we don’t have to stay tied—and I am beginning to see a way out for myself, Mary.”
She told of her talk with Roger and of her own strenuous desire to help; but she did not tell what she had said to him at the last. There was something here which she could not understand. Mary persistently refused to talk about him. Even now she shifted the topic.
“I don’t want to strive,” she said, “not even for the sake of others. I want to rest for a thousand years—and sleep for the next thousand.”
And this from Mary, buoyant, vivid Mary, with her almost boyish strength and energy.
The big house was to be closed. Aunt Isabelle would go with Mary. Susan Jenks and Pittiwitz would be domiciled in the kitchen wing, with a friend of Susan’s to keep them company.
Mary, wandering on the last day through the Tower Rooms, thought of the night when Roger Poole had first come to them. And now he would never come again.
She had not been able to understand his abrupt departure. Yet there had been nothing to resent—he had been infinitely kind, sympathetic, strong, helpful. If she missed something from his manner which had been there on the day of his arrival, she told herself that perhaps it had not been there, that her own joy in seeing him had made her imagine a like joy in his attitude toward her.
Cousin Patty had cried over her, kissed her, and protested that she could not bear to go.
“But Roger thinks it is best, my dear. He is needed at home.”
It seemed plausible that he might be needed, yet in the back of Mary’s mind was a doubt. What had sent him away? She was haunted by the feeling that some sinister influence had separated them.
A pitiful little figure in black, she made the tour of the empty rooms with Pittiwitz mewing plaintively at her heels. The little cat, with the instinct of her kind, felt the atmosphere of change. Old rugs on which she had sprawled were rolled up and reeking with moth balls. The little white bed, on which she had napped unlawfully, was stripped to the mattress. The cushions on which she had curled were packed away—the fire was out—the hearth desolate.