But of course, she was reminding herself presently, Greg had never been to Quaker Bridge, he had no reason to suppose her in actual danger; indeed, perhaps the danger had always been more imagined than real. If his hosts had been merely bored by the weather, merely driven to cards, how should he be alarmed?
“Did the Valentines know what a tide we were having in Quaker Bridge?” she asked, after a while.
“Never dreamed it; didn’t know we’d been cut off until it was all over!” That was reassuring, at least. “And, you see, I couldn’t say much about our plans. Alice Valentine’s all wool, of course, but she’s anything but a yard wide! She wouldn’t have understood— not that it matters, but it was easier not! She was sweet to you at the wedding, and she’ll ask us to dinner, and you two will get along splendidly. But she’s not as—big as George.”
“You mean, she doesn’t like the—divorce part of it?”
“Or words to that effect,” the doctor answered comfortably. “Of course, she’d never have said a word. But they are sort of simple and old-fashioned. George understands—that’s all I care about. Do you see?”
“I see,” she answered slowly. But when he spoke again the sunshine came back to her heart; he had planned this, he had planned that, he had wired Elinor, the power boat was ready. She was a woman, after all, and young, and the bright hours of shopping, of being admired and envied, and, above all, of being so newly loved and protected, were opening before her. What woman in the world had more than she, what woman indeed, she asked herself, as he turned toward her his keen, smiling look of solicitude and devotion, had one-tenth as much?
Later on, in that same day, there was another tiny shadow. Rachael, however, had foreseen this moment, and met it bravely.
“How’s your mother, Greg?” she asked suddenly.
“Fine,” he answered, and with a swift smile for her he added, “and furious!”
“No—is she really furious?” Rachael asked, paling.
“Now, my dearest heart,” Warren Gregory said with an air of authority that she found strangely thrilling and sweet, “from this moment on make up your mind that what my good mother does and says is absolutely unimportant to you and me! She has lived her life, she is old, and sick, and unreasonable, and whatever we did wouldn’t please her, and whatever anyone does, doesn’t satisfy her anyway! In forty years—in less than that, as far as I’m concerned—you and I’ll be just as bad. My mother acted like a martyr on the steamer; she was about as gay with her old friends in London as you or I’d be at a funeral; she had an air of lofty endurance and forbearance all the way, and, as I said to Margaret Clay in Paris, the only time I really thought she was enjoying herself was when she had to be hustled into a hospital, and for a day or two there we really thought she was going to have pneumonia!”