She slipped into her room alone and read two letters, one a few typewritten lines from John Jardine, saying he had been at Hartley, also at Walden, and having found her married and gone, there was nothing for him to do but wish that the man she married had it in his heart to guard her life and happiness as he would have done. He would never cease to love her, and if at any time in her life there was anything he could do for her, would she please let him know. Kate dropped the letter on her dresser, with a purpose, and let it lie there. The other was from Robert. He said he was very sorry, but he could do nothing with Nancy Ellen at present. He hoped she would change later. If there was ever anything he could do, to let him know. Kate locked that letter in her trunk. She wondered as she did so why both of them seemed to think she would need them in the future. She felt perfectly able to take care of herself.
Monday morning George carried Kate’s books to school for her, saw that she was started on her work in good shape, then went home, put on his old clothes, and began the fall work at Aunt Ollie’s. Kate, wearing her prettiest blue dress, forgot even the dull ache in her heart, as she threw herself into the business of educating those young people. She worked as she never had before. She seemed to have developed fresh patience, new perception, keener penetration; she made the dullest of them see her points, and interested the most inattentive. She went home to dinner feeling better. She decided to keep on teaching a few years until George was well started in his practice; if he ever got started. He was very slow in action it seemed to her, compared with his enthusiasm when he talked.
For two weeks Kate threw herself into the business of teaching with all her power. She succeeded in so interesting herself and her pupils that she was convinced she had done a wise thing. Marriage did not interfere with her teaching; she felt capable and independent so long as she had her salary. George was working and working diligently, to prepare for winter, whenever she was present or could see results. With her first month’s salary she would buy herself a warm coat, a wool suit, an extra skirt for school, and some waists. If there was enough left, she would have another real hat. Then for the remainder of the year she would spend only for the barest necessities and save to help toward a home something like Nancy Ellen’s. Whenever she thought of Nancy Ellen and Robert there was a choking sensation in her throat, a dull ache where she had been taught her heart was located.