“She came into the office today, just like an ordinary patient. But I knew right off that she’d come for some-thing. Don’t know yet what she came for. She doesn’t give herself away, that one! Didn’t seem to look around, didn’t ask questions and only stayed a few minutes. Do you suppose she could have come to see me? Because, if she did— Well, that shows where her interest is.
“Another odd thing—as she went out, I saw her husband. (I’ll tell you, in strict confidence, that her husband is Professor Spence. They are well known people here. He used to be a sort of recluse. A queer chap. Deep as a judge.) Well, I saw him pass, on the opposite side of the road. He saw her and was just going to call, when it seemed to strike him where she had come from. I couldn’t see very well across the road, but he looked as if someone had hit him. And he went on without saying a word. Now that looked queer to me.
“Don’t write and say that I’m only guessing at things. I may be mistaken, of course, but I know I’m not. And I’m not a Pharisee (or whoever it was that threw stones). If she cares for Doctor, I suppose she can’t help it. Some people think her husband handsome but I don’t. He’s too thin and he has the oddest little smile. It slips out and slips in like a mouse. When Dr. John smiles, he smiles all over.
“Well, I’ll wait a week or so to make sure. Although I’m sure now. If I ever see Doctor look at her, I’ll know. You see, I know how he’d look if he looked that way. I’ve kept hoping—but I guess I’d better take my ticket, Yours,
This letter satisfactorily explains the loss, some weeks later, of Dr. Rogers’ capable nurse—a matter which he, himself, could never understand.
Desire was smiling as she left Dr. Rogers’ office. It was a smile compounded of derision and relief—a shamefaced smile which admitted an opinion of herself very far from flattering.
So occupied was she with her mental reactions that she had no attention to spare for the opposite side of the street and therefore missed the slightly peculiar action of her husband-by-courtesy. Professor Spence, when he had first caught sight of his wife had automatically paused, as if to call or cross over. It had become their friendly habit to inform each other of their daily plans and a cheery “whither away?” had risen naturally to the professor’s lips. It rose to them, but did not leave them, for, in the intervening instant, he had grasped the fact of Desire’s smiling abstraction and had sought its explanation in the place from which she had come. desire calling at old Bones’ office at this hour of the morning? Before he had recovered from the surprise of it, she had passed.
Time, which seems so mighty, is sometimes quite negligible. The most amazing mental illuminations may occupy only the fraction of a second. A light flashes and is gone—but meanwhile one has seen.