How blind they had both been! He to believe that love had passed; she to believe that love would never come. Desire paused with her hand upon the library door. He was there. She could hear him talking to Yorick. She had only to open the door . . . but she did not open it. Yesterday the library had been her kingdom, the heart of her widening world. Now it was only a room in someone else’s house. Yesterday she would have gone in swiftly—hiding her gladness in a little net of everyday words. But today she had no gladness and no words.
Miss Davis had been in Bainbridge a week. Her cold was entirely better and her nerves, she said, much rested. “This is such a restful place,” murmured Miss Davis, selecting her breakfast toast with care.
“I’m glad you find it so,” said Aunt Caroline. “Though, with the club elections coming on next week—” she broke off to ask if Desire would have more coffee.
Desire would have no more, thanks. Miss Campion, looking over her spectacles, frowned faintly and took a second cup herself—an indulgence which showed that she had something on her mind. Her nephew, knowing this symptom, was not surprised when later she joined him on the side veranda. Being a prompt person she began at once.
“Benis,” she said, “I have a feeling—I am not at all satisfied about Desire. If you know what is the matter with her I wish you would tell me. I am not curious. I expect no one’s confidence, nor do I ask for it. But I have a right to object to mysteries, I think.”
As Aunt Caroline spoke, she looked sternly at the smoke of the professor’s after-breakfast cigarette, the blue haze of which temporarily clouded his expression. Benis took his time in answering.
“You think there is something the matter besides the heat?” he inquired mildly.
“Heat! It is only ordinary summer weather.”
“But Desire is not used to ordinary summer, in Ontario.”
“Nonsense. It can’t be much cooler on the coast. Although I have heard people say that they felt quite chilly there. It isn’t that.”
“What is it, then?”
Not noticing that she was being asked to answer her own question, Aunt Caroline considered. Then, with a flash of shrewd insight, “Well,” she said, “if there were any possible excuse for it, I should say that it is Mary Davis.”
“My dear Aunt!”
“You asked me, Benis. And I have told you what I think. Desire has changed since Mary came. Before that she seemed happy. There was something about her—well, I admit I liked to look at her. And she seemed to love this place. Even that Yorick bird pleased her, a taste which I admit I could never understand. Now she looks around and sees nothing. The girl has some-thing on her mind, Benis. She’s thinking.”
“With some people thought is not fatal.”