Monday, October seventh. If this were a novel about some charming, slender, pansy-eyed girl, how differently I would have to describe the feelings with which I woke the next morning. But these being only a few pages from the life of a fat, New England housewife, I must be candid. I woke feeling dull and sour. The day was gray and cool: faint shreds of mist sifting up from the Sound and a desolate mewing of seagulls in the air. I was unhappy, upset, and—yes—shy. Passionately I yearned to run to the Professor, to gather him into my arms, to be alone with him in Parnassus, creaking up some sunny by-road. But his words came back to me: I was nothing to him. What if he didn’t love me after all?
I walked across two fields, down to the beach where little waves were slapping against the shingle. I washed my face and hands in salt water. Then I went back to Parnassus and brewed some coffee with condensed milk. I gave Peg and Bock their breakfasts. Then I hitched Peg to the van again, and felt better. As I drove into the town I had to wait at the grade crossing while a wrecking train rumbled past, on its way back from Willdon. That meant that the line was clear again. I watched the grimy men on the cars, and shuddered to think what they had been doing.
The Vigor county jail lies about a mile out of the town, an ugly, gray stone barracks with a high, spiked wall about it. I was thankful that it was still fairly early in the morning, and I drove through the streets without seeing any one I knew. Finally I reached the gate in the prison wall. Here some kind of a keeper barred my way. “Can’t get in, lady,” he said. “Yesterday was visitors’ day. No more visitors till next month.”
“I must get in,” I said. “You’ve got a man in there on a false charge.”
“So they all say,” he retorted, calmly, and spat halfway across the road. “You wouldn’t believe any of our boarders had a right to be here if you could hear their friends talk.”
I showed him Governor Stafford’s card. He was rather impressed by this, and retired into a sentry-box in the wall—to telephone, I suppose.
Presently he came back.
“The sheriff says he’ll see you, ma’am. But you’ll have to leave this here dynamite caboose behind.” He unlocked a little door in the immense iron gate, and turned me over to another man inside. “Take this here lady to the sheriff,” he said.
Some of Vigor county’s prisoners must have learned to be pretty good gardeners, for certainly the grounds were in good condition. The grass was green and trimly mowed; there were conventional beds of flowers in very ugly shapes; in the distance I saw a gang of men in striped overalls mending a roadway. The guide led me to an attractive cottage to one side of the main building. There were two children playing outside, and I remember thinking that within the walls of a jail was surely a queer place to bring up youngsters.