Kate did not think at all. After the manner of parents, she said that, but her head was full of something she thought vastly more important just then; of course Polly should have her share in it. Left alone to wash the dishes and cook supper while her mother went to town, it was Polly, who did the thinking. She thought entirely too much, thought bitterly, thought disappointedly, and finally thought resentfully, and then alas, Polly thought deceitfully. Her mother had said: “Never let me see you.” Very well, she would be extremely careful that she was not seen; but before she slept she rather thought she would find a way to let Henry know how she was being abused, and about that plan to send her away all the long winter to school. She rather thought Henry would have something to say about how his “Little Beautiful” was being treated. Here Polly looked long and searchingly in the mirror to see if by any chance Henry was mistaken, and she discovered he was. She stared in amazement at the pink-cheeked, shining eyed girl she saw mirrored. She pulled her hair looser around the temples, and drew her lips over her teeth. Surely Henry was mistaken. “Little Beautiful” was too moderate. She would see that he said “perfectly lovely,” the next time, and he did.
One evening Kate and Polly went to the front porch to rest until bedtime and found a shining big new trunk sitting there, with Kate’s initials on the end, her name on the check tag, and a key in the lock. They unbuckled the straps, turned the key, and lifted the lid. That trunk contained underclothing, hose, shoes, two hats, a travelling dress with half a dozen extra waists, and an afternoon and an evening dress, all selected with especial reference to Kate’s colouring, and made one size larger than Nancy Ellen wore, which fitted Kate perfectly. There were gloves, a parasol, and a note which read:
Dear Kate: Here are some clothes. I am going to go North a week after harvest. You can be spared then as well as not. Come on! Let’s run away and have one good time all by ourselves. It is my treat from start to finish. The children can manage the farm perfectly well. Any one of her cousins will stay with Polly, if she will be lonely. Cut loose and come on, Kate. I am going. Of course Robert couldn’t be pried away from his precious patients; we will have to go alone; but we do not care. We like it. Shall we start about the tenth, on the night train, which will be cooler? Nancy Ellen.
“We shall!” said Kate emphatically, when she finished the note. “I haven’t cut loose and had a good time since I was married; not for eighteen years. If the children are not big enough to take care of themselves, they never will be. I can go as well as not.”
She handed the note to Polly, while she shook out dresses and gloated over the contents of the trunk.