To Polly’s ears went the word that Adam and her mother were having a fine time together, always together; and that they had Milly York up three times a week to spend the evening; and that Milly said that it passed her to see why Polly ran away from Mrs. Holt. She was the grandest woman alive, and if she had any running to do in her neighbourhood, she would run to her, and not from her. Whereupon Polly closed her lips firmly and looked black, but not before she had said: “Well, if Mother had done just one night a week of that entertaining for Henry and me, we wouldn’t have run from her, either.”
Polly said nothing until April, then Kate answered the telephone one day and a few seconds later was ringing for Adam as if she would pull down the bell. He came running and soon was on his way to Peters’ with the single buggy, with instructions to drive slowly and carefully and on no account to let Polly slip getting out. The Peters family had all gone to bury an aunt in the neighbourhood, leaving Polly alone for the day; and Polly at once called up her mother, and said she was dying to see her, and if she couldn’t come home for the day, she would die soon, and be glad of it. Kate knew the visit should not have been made at that time and in that way; but she knew that Polly was under a dangerous nervous strain; she herself would not go to Peters’ in Mrs. Peters’ absence; she did not know what else to do. As she waited for Polly she thought of many things she would say; when she saw her, she took her in her arms and almost carried her into the house, and she said nothing at all, save how glad she was to see her, and she did nothing at all, except to try with all her might to comfort and please her, for to Kate, Polly did not seem like a strong, healthy girl approaching maternity. She appeared like a very sick woman, who sorely needed attention, while a few questions made her so sure of it that she at once called Robert. He gave both of them all the comfort he could, but what he told Nancy Ellen was: “Polly has had no attention whatever. She wants me, and I’ll have to go; but it’s a case I’d like to side-step. I’ll do all I can, but the time is short.”
“Oh, Lord!” said Nancy Ellen. “Is it one more for Kate?”
“Yes,” said Robert, “I am very much afraid it’s ’one more for Kate.’”
Polly and Kate had a long day together, while Adam was about the house much of the time. Both of them said and did everything they could think of to cheer and comfort Polly, whose spirits seemed most variable. One minute she would be laughing and planning for the summer gaily, the next she would be gloomy and depressed, and declaring she never would live through the birth of her baby. If she had appeared well, this would not have worried Kate; but she looked even sicker than she seemed to feel. She was thin while her hands were hot and tremulous. As the afternoon went on and time to go came nearer, she grew more and more despondent, until Kate proposed watching when the Peters family came home, calling them up, and telling them that Polly was there, would remain all night, and that Henry should come down.