Stout, overdressed, deep-voiced, she came to see the actress, and they both cried; Magsie said that she was sorry—she was so bitterly sorry—but, yes, there was someone else. Mrs. Gardiner shrugged philosophically, wiped her eyes, drew a deep breath. No help for it! Presently she heavily departed; her solid weight, her tinkling spangles, and her rainbow plumes vanished into the limousine, and she was whirled away.
Magsie sighed; these complications were romantic. What could one do?
Silent, abstracted, unsmiling, Rachael got through the days. She ate what Mary put before her, slept fairly well, answered the puzzled boys the second time they addressed her. She buckled sandals, read fairy tales, brushed the unruly heads, and listened to the wavering prayers day after day. Her eyes were strained, her usually quick, definite motions curiously uncertain; otherwise there was little change.
Alice, in spite of her husband’s half protest, went down to Clark’s Hills, deciding in the first hour that the worst of the matter was all over and Rachael quite herself, gradually becoming doubtful, and returning home in despair. Her tearful account took George down to the country house a week later.
Rachael met them; they dined with her. She was interested about the Valentine children, interested in their summer plans. She laughed as she quoted Derry’s latest ventures with words. She walked to her gate to wave them good-bye on Monday morning, and told Alice that she was counting the days until the big family came down. But George and Alice were heavy hearted as they drove away.
“What is it?” asked Alice, anxious eyes upon her husband’s kind, homely face. “She’s like a person recovering from a blow. She’s not sick; but, George, she isn’t well!”
“No, she’s not well,” George agreed soberly. “Bad glitter in her eyes, and I don’t like that calm for fiery Rachael! Well, you’ll be down here in a week or two—”
“Last week,” Alice said not for the first time, “she only spoke of—of the trouble, you know—once. We were just going out to dinner, and she turned to me, and said: ’I didn’t like my bargain eight years ago, Alice, and I tore my contract to pieces! Now I’ll pay for it.’”
“And you said?”
“I said, ’Oh, nonsense, Rachael. Don’t be morbid! There’s no parallel between the cases!’”
“H’m!” The doctor was silent for a long time. “I don’t know what Greg’s doing,” he added after thought.