“All right. Good-bye, then.” He held out his hand, and she put hers in it for the moment he chose to hold it. Then he turned and slowly climbed the hill.
Cynthia was still lying with her face in her pillow when her father came into the dark little house, and peered into her room with the newly lighted lamp in his hand. She turned her face quickly over and looked at him with dry and shining eyes.
“Well, it’s all over with Jeff and me, father.”
“Well, I’m satisfied,” said Whitwell. “If you could ha’ made it up, so you could ha’ felt right about it, I shouldn’t ha’ had anything to say against it, but I’m glad it’s turned out the way it has. He’s a comical devil, and he always was, and I’m glad you a’n’t takin’ on about him any more. You used to have so much spirit when you was little.”
“Oh,—spirit! You don’t know how much spirit I’ve had, now.”
“Well, I presume not,” Whitwell assented.
“I’ve been thinking,” said the girl, after a little pause, “that we shall have to go away from here.”
“Well, I guess not,” her father began. “Not for no Jeff Dur—”
“Yes, yes. We must! Don’t make one talk about it. We’ll stay here till Jackson gets back in June, and then—we must go somewhere else. We’ll go down to Boston, and I’ll try to get a place to teach, or something, and Frank can get a place.”
“I presume,” Whitwell mused, “that Mr. Westover could—”
“Father!” cried the girl, with an energy that startled him, as she lifted herself on her elbow. “Don’t ever think of troubling Mr. Westover! Oh,” she lamented, “I was thinking of troubling him myself! But we mustn’t, we mustn’t! I should be so ashamed!”
“Well,” said Whitwell, “time enough to think about all that. We got two good months yet to plan it out before Jackson gets back, and I guess we can think of something before that. I presume,” he added, thoughtfully, “that when Mrs. Durgin hears that you’ve give Jeff the sack, she’ll make consid’able of a kick. She done it when you got engaged.”
After he went back to Cambridge, Jeff continued mechanically in the direction given him by motives which had ceased for him. In the midst of his divergence with Bessie Lynde he had still kept an inner fealty to Cynthia, and tried to fulfil the purposes and ambition she had for him. The operation of this habitual allegiance now kept him up to his work, but the time must come when it could no longer operate, when his whole consciousness should accept the fact known to his intelligence, and he should recognize the close of that incident of his life as the bereaved finally accept and recognize the fact of death.