She found her in a pavilion that flanked a corner of the veranda, and with her some other young people, all of whom were busily engaged with the new fad of basket making. They were just on the point of having light refreshments and heartily welcomed her to their circle, where the time slipped unheeded by until a clock, somewhere, striking the half hour after twelve, warned her that lunch at home would soon be served, and Sadie, even now, must be wondering what had become of her.
But when she reached home the girl was nowhere to be found. It was after one o’clock and lunch waiting when she finally came slowly up the hill, which sloped to the beach behind the house, and Katherine was sure, from her flushed cheeks and reddened lids, that she had been crying.
There was no opportunity for any confidential conversation during the meal, for the waitress was in the room, and, after making a very light repast, Sadie observed she “reckoned she’d go take a nap,” and abruptly leaving the table, disappeared.
Katharine was deeply thoughtful while finishing her lunch. “He has been here,” she said to herself as she folded and slipped her napkin into its ring; then, with a resolute uplifting of her head, she followed Sadie upstairs and tapped upon her door. “Please excuse me for a little while, honey,” came the response from within, but in unnatural tones.
“But, Sadie, I am sure that something is troubling you; and, besides, I have an item of important news to tell you,” her friend persisted.
“Well, then, come,” was the reluctant reply, and Katherine entered, to find the girl, as she had surmised, in tears.
“I knew it, dear,” she said, going to her side. “I was sure you were grieving about something, and I believe that Ned Willard is the cause of it. I saw him this morning when I was out with Dr. Stanley.”
“You did! He didn’t say that he had seen you,” exclaimed Sadie, in astonishment. Then, realizing how she had committed herself, she colored a vivid scarlet and fell to weeping afresh.
“Ah! then he has been here!” said Katherine. “I thought so, when you came in to lunch.” There was a moment of awkward silence, then she resumed: “Sadie, I do not wish to force your confidence, but I am going to tell you frankly what is on my mind, and I hope you will feel it is only my friendship for you that impels me to say it. I noticed, for a long time before school closed, that you were not yourself, that you were depressed and unhappy, and I was confident that Mr. Willard was the cause of it; that it was on his account you refused to go to Europe with your guardian. It even seemed to me that you were almost on the point of taking some step, doing something rash, from which you instinctively shrank, and when I asked you to come home with me you seized the opportunity as a loophole of escape. Of course, I have not been blind and I have suspected that certain letters which have come to you here were from Mr. Willard, and when I saw him to-day I feared he had followed you and would make you ‘wretched’ again. I did not know him at first, but he recognized me and spoke to me.”