“Virginia,” Rachel spoke with the frankness that had always existed between the two friends, “Jasper Chase told me the other night that he—in fact—he proposed to me—or he would, if—”
Rachel stopped and sat with her hands clasped on her lap, and there were tears in her eyes.
“Virginia, I thought a little while ago I loved him, as he said he loved me. But when he spoke, my heart felt repelled, and I said what I ought to say. I told him no. I have not seen him since. That was the night of the first conversions at the Rectangle.”
“I am glad for you,” said Virginia quietly.
“Why?” asked Rachel a little startled.
“Because, I have never really liked Jasper Chase. He is too cold and—I do not like to judge him, but I have always distrusted his sincerity in taking the pledge at the church with the rest.”
Rachel looked at Virginia thoughtfully.
“I have never given my heart to him I am sure. He touched my emotions, and I admired his skill as a writer. I have thought at times that I cared a good deal for him. I think perhaps if he had spoken to me at any other time than the one he chose, I could easily have persuaded myself that I loved him. But not now.”
Again Rachel paused suddenly, and when she looked up at Virginia again there were tears on her face. Virginia came to her and put her arm about her tenderly.
When Rachel had left the house, Virginia sat in the hall thinking over the confidence her friend had just shown her. There was something still to be told, Virginia felt sure from Rachel’s manner, but she did not feel hurt that Rachel had kept back something. She was simply conscious of more on Rachel’s mind than she had revealed.
Very soon Rollin came back, and he and Virginia, arm in arm as they had lately been in the habit of doing, walked up and down the long hall. It was easy for their talk to settle finally upon Rachel because of the place she was to occupy in the plans which were being made for the purchase of property at the Rectangle.
“Did you ever know of a girl of such really gifted powers in vocal music who was willing to give her life to the people as Rachel is going to do? She is going to give music lessons in the city, have private pupils to make her living, and then give the people in the Rectangle the benefit of her culture and her voice.”
“It is certainly a very good example of self-sacrifice,” replied Rollin a little stiffly.
Virginia looked at him a little sharply. “But don’t you think it is a very unusual example? Can you imagine—” here Virginia named half a dozen famous opera singers—“doing anything of this sort?”
“No, I cannot,” Rollin answered briefly. “Neither can I imagine Miss—” he spoke the name of the girl with the red parasol who had begged Virginia to take the girls to the Rectangle—” doing what you are doing, Virginia.”
“Any more than I can imagine Mr.—” Virginia spoke the name of a young society leader “going about to the clubs doing your work, Rollin.” The two walked on in silence for the length of the hall.