St. George began again: “And you remember how—”
She turned impatiently and dropped one hand until it rested on his own. He thought he had never seen her look so lovely and never so unhappy. Then she said in pleading tones—her eyes blinded by half-restrained tears:
“Don’t ask me to remember, dear Uncle George—help me to forget! You can do no kinder thing for both of us.”
“But think of your whole future happiness, Kate—think how important it is to you—to Harry—to everybody—that you should not shut him out of your life.”
“I have thought! God knows I have thought until sometimes I think I shall go mad. He first breaks his promise about drinking and I forgive him; then he yields to a sudden impulse and behaves like a mad-man and you ask me to forgive him again. He never once thinks of me, nor of my humiliation!” Her lips were quivering, but her voice rang clear.
“He thinks of nothing else but you,” he pleaded. “Let your heart work—don’t throw him into the street as his father has done. He loves you so.”
“I—throw him in the street! He has thrown me—mortified me before everybody—behaved like a—No,—I can’t—I won’t discuss it!”
“No—not another word. I love you too much to let this come between us. Let us talk of something else—anything—anything.”
The whole chart of her heart had been unrolled. Her head and not her heart was dominant. He felt, moreover, that no argument of his would be of any use. Time might work out the solution, but this he could not hasten. Nor, if the truth be told, did he blame her. It was, from the girl’s point of view, most unfortunate, of course, that the two calamities of Harry’s drunkenness and the duel had come so close together. Perhaps—and for the first time in his life he weakened before her tears—perhaps if he had thrown the case of pistols out of the window, sent one man to his father and the other back to Kennedy Square, it might all have been different—but then again, could this have been done, and if it had been, would not all have to be done over again the next day? At last he asked hopelessly:
“Have you no message for Harry?”
“None,” she answered resolutely.
“And you will not see him?”
“No—we can never heal wounds by keeping them open.” This came calmly, and as if she had made up her mind, and in so determined a tone that he saw it meant an end to the interview.
He rose from his seat and without another word turned toward the door. She gained her feet slowly, as if the very movement caused her pain; put her arms around his neck, kissed him on the cheek, followed him to the door, waved her hand to him as she watched him pick his way across the square, and threw herself on her lounge in an agony of tears.