Locked Gardens and a Key
AGNES C. McGREGOR
.Vt~c York-and Suiiiiner-and ,ne,,aories-and a s~c~I old i~rardcn tucked away - a cool sweet ,`f~jr~' from tile roar of the Streets - and the t/io,~,riits of i'outii reunited. If/hat li/ore entranciii~ inL~redzents could be Jon mid for a short story?
GOOD-BYE. Anne.' she called, and turning, watched. the porter stowing her bag under the Then she began can to think about it. W'hyever had Anne said,at'that last oil-aboard moment, "Remember me `o Bruce. wren you see him." She didn't expect to see Proc ne didn't wish to see him, Anne must have Port Credit's Hamilton and still she wondered. The )ttoer name with his fusillade of questions, cr sk~ thouzht about :t. Then Icoking out she saw the c-' it r.'.*'r rebecrinc the lights of two countries and Wa' PC `he r rers sure progress down the car. - `irn a as', and how ready she was for a good sieep! S - r.ways sent well-anywhere--! And then, suddenly i~ er an-i over again, the wheels began a rh:r hmr sr ng Eon. c.n',i,er-n:e~to_Bruce_rememher~me_ Al surd, h'`hught. pulling `be sheet over her hare nh uk-. and stret°hing iuxur:ousiy. She wasn't going -n revue nid. fnrgc"en memories. She wanted new Yen; ideas for her `a rh. And still the wheels unc n -` R€rnemhe--me-to-Br'ace. ` Eleven years nat urIne rome fr'n'i llamkon gasoline spoiling h ç erfume cf .iia honrung horns drowning the -witted :.er,:. htrd.s. A.. -iars, helen." Bruce hau said. 1 know a hetter way `ran this: An-i they nad turned up to Dundas "reet by way of tine old Sprina' Road at Erindale. How riu~'r::.''ha'nun derstorm came up. They scarcely n: :ceu t :n the Jon of that question asked and answered she was t'n°rsy then and he was twenty-five. Ahsurd Anne t; remind her of it like this! `Remember-me-toBruo.s-rememrjer-me-to--" ,i~t~nb.O O.
Strange mirrors do make one more detached, she thought the next morning, as she brushed her light brown wavy hair. Better not bobbed, though it might have looked nice—still, at thirty-one! A little dash of powder
or. a perfectly satisfactory nose—no, she didn’t use a lipstick, but then she didn’t need to! Brown eyes, lots of colcr and a dimple. Terribly inconsistent, that dimple. Still the children liked it, even if some of the Board mem-
•rj~c~ u5i~ e~en -`,me 01 tne rioarll mem er~r~ - as sure aho-~ it. They expected their head v :~er to ase life sero'islvl Well, she did. But ri this mr rrkng. Oh ni - h~ glorious sunny morning. She alrnos~ fr~-ct aoout chitu `s.eltare. All she wanted `xas kreak~ast and a view `if tne Ludson from the dirorl Gramerc'.Hotel, Twc-r~:~eth. Street she said, stepping an open taxi. Yes York id give one a warm we! - iy And she loved her rooms. Katharine was lea o have bot~ieredl East River and its bridges from -Gramer'y Park. r4ueer little locked square,
drowsing in the sun, from another, and the Metropolitan clock waving friendly hands at her right across the square! Which reminded her that she simply must telephone to Katharine . . .
“No not a bit tired, Kay-yes, my rooms are perfect; terribly extravagant of course, but still! To the Brandts —to-night? Yes, I’d love to. I’ve seen his illustrations in some of the magazines. Oh, and didn’t he do the costumes for Marlot’s Revue?”
That afternoon she arranged a rather leisurely timetable at her school, then returned to unpack, and after a long, lazy bath, put on one of her prettiest frocks.
THERE were several people in the big studio when she and Katharine arrived. John Brandt, and his wife Olga. Helen knew she was a Russian. Brandt had met her during the production of a play at the Provincetown theatre—Philip Strong, Joan Forsythe, there were several more informal introductions. And then Helen had a moment to study the queer and charming room. Such a medley! A perfect riot of color—yet harmonized. Sketches and studies and many weirdly beautiful masques, all faintly reminiscent of Olga’s pure oval, covered the walls. And amazingly close beside an oriental couch piled high with lovely embroidered fabrics, stood a perambulator.
Brandt handed Helen a book bound in blue handtooled leather. It was full of pencil sketches of a baby. As she turned the pages Olga said to her:
“They are sweet, those drawings of John’s, but I will do better for you than that.” And taking Helen’s hand she led her to the door of a room where a child lay sleeping. Soft rings of hair framed the baby’s face. A toy lay on the sheet just beside the little hand. Looking at Olga’s intent, adoring face Helen wondered what visions she was seeing!
Back again in the studio Helen sometimes plunged into the conversational pool, but for the most part she sat happily on the rim enjoying the gay chatter and accepting the Brandt’s invitation to motor to Ironbound Beach next day. But back in her rooms the things which she most remembered about the evening were that chubby little fist from which the toy had fallen and those funny tiny shoes beside the cot! Suddenly she picked up the big telephone book and found an address.
“I wonder if he still lives there—perhaps he does . ” Then she closed the book and slipped into bed. Next day the supreme moment came when Olga said, swimming lazily beside her towards the group on the
“We want you to come,too, Helen. Oh, but you cannot say no. It will be such a good party. Two cars, and Joan and Philip and Katharine, two more men—she’ll like them, won’t she, Katharine?”
“Yes,” Philip interrupted. “I’m afraid so. And the place is perfect, Miss Lea. Real fishing. Mountains minus motors, except our own. Sunsets! No ‘hot-dog’ signs—” “And screened-in sleeping porches and a good cook,” supplied that practical artist, John Brandt.
“And besides,” continued Olga, “your course is only a - what do you call that funny name? Oh, yes, a ‘refresher.’ So surely the Adirondacks and the baby and all of us will be just as good as your old professors.”
“But, of course, I’m coming—you’re darlings to want me. You’ll be making me think as ‘spaciously’ as one of Mr. Wells’ heroines—”
“Which reminds me, old dear,” said Katharine, “that since we haven’t adopted Mr. Wells’ economy in the matter of clothes and since you can't play about the Adirondacks in skirts, you’ll simply have to get an outfit. I’ll give you the address of my shop!”
And so the next morning, after a lecture so good that it gave her a bad attack of conscience, Helen boarded a Fifth Avenue bus. The sun blazed—but she loved the front seat—two dollars’ worth of joy for a dime—and she loved the Avenue. Toronto would look odd—but then one didn’t compare Toronto with New York, any more than one compared one’s very own mother with a popular actress! Fun to watch the traffic pile up at the signal— like the Red Sea dividing! What a source the Old Testament was for descriptions! She would need it in the Adirondacks, she was sure—and then she saw him! Suddenly, just in front of the Public Library she saw him —yes—no—she could not be sure, though she rose and watched the tall, rather thick-set figure walking down the Avenue as the bus traveled north.
The little shop was all that Katharine had described. But was it really Bruce? . . . The knickers and silk shirts were becoming—oh, entirely . . . But had it been just a chance resemblance?
And that afternoon as she packed, Anne’s message came back again, “Remember me to Bruce when you see him.” And this time it brought memories—
The year that had followed that drive along the old Springs Road ... his big successful deal. The second one which was to bring true his dream of buying a big farm. Country born and bred, he had always planned to go back to the farm. A glorified farm, of course! Then came the crash and those two offers. She had urged him to accept the position with the Toronto stockbrokers. He had preferred the Australian thing. A chance—yes— but what a big chance! It meant a chance for the farm. And she had hated the farm! “If you really cared, you wouldn’t ever think of going away off to Australia,” she had said. And he had replied, “And if you really cared you wouldn’t want to turn me into a bond salesman when you know T hate it!” His will against hers, and both unyielding! And then that night after the theatre when they walked slowly home. “Don't come in. Bruce," shehad said at last. “It's no use—we can't agree— And I don’t think I want to see you again. I don't ever want te» see you again—.”
Curling up in the big chair by the window, Helen» remembered that letter from Montreal, telling her that he was sailing for England and giving the address of his. London bankers. He was to be there two, weeks before sailing for Australia. And she had not written. Then came „he war—and surcease from memories in war work. She heard indirectly that he was in France with the Australian troops—but he did not write. War work led to social work, and old memories, forbidden and denied.
began to fade. Then three years ago came his second letter. This time from New York. Characteristic, that letter. No explanations. Just the direct statement that he still cared—had given up the idea of farming and was well placed with a Broad Street firm. Would she write to him? It had revived old hurts, old bitterness. Her new life was so secure and happy. She would write a cold, brief little note to-morrow—and to-morrow had never come—it just simply hadn’t come!
AS SHE finished packing she thought, “He really had cared—all those years—and she had not played quite fair—not quite fair. Anne often told her so. Anne had seen him two years ago!” She looked at the telephone. Suppose she just called up and said, “Hello, Bruce, I’m sorry I didn’t write—” absurd—of course she wouldn’t do that—why had this happened just when she was so perfectly happy?
And that night after she had braided her hair into two big soft plaits and slipped into her filmy little rose negligee, she suddenly said to herself—
“No, Helen, you won’t telephone. But you will write a decent little note, just for old time’s sake. You will simply have to lay that ghost of Anne’s ‘ Remember-me-toBruce.’ It’s beginning to haunt you. Why even the Metropolitan chimes are picking it up.”
And sitting down at the desk she wrote quickly. “This comes just three years late, to say I’m sorry. I couldn’t write the things you wanted me to, so I just didn’t write at all, and that wasn’t fair. To-morrow I’m going to the mountains with some friends, but something about New York simply won’t let me leave without saying I’m sorry and goodbye.” No date—no address.
Opening the door she stretched out her hand and watched the letter slip down the chute.
Then, curiously tired, she climbed into bed. The motor was to call at nine.
And at nine she was sick.
Emphatically and miserably sick. Feverish, dizzy, absolutely wretched. Why, she could scarcely sit up. She who was never ill! No, Katharine simply mustn’t stay. That would be dreadful. Yes, she would see the doctor—there was one on the next floor.
There, you see, it wasn’t serious —she would be all right in a day or two—just heat probably —that bus yesterday! Of course Katharine must go and she would follow in a day or two . . . and finally left alone, gazing rather ruefully at her carefully packed bag, she settled down to sleep.
Waking at five she felt better •—exasperatingly better! The motors were probably parked beside a lovely stream. Philip, she knew, was cooking bacon.
Yes, the thought of bacon was quite endurable. Someone else was mixing French dressing—oh yes, she felt better— hungry in fact, but never mind—
She would take the train to Lake Placid and they would drive in for her . . .
Then the telephone beside her bed rang and she heard herself saying with a strange little catch in her voice:
“Why, Bruce—however did you find me—?” and his voice, so little changed:
“That was easy, Helen—I just asked a friend of mine in Greenwich Settlement where I would find a Toronto social worker. She suggested your school—and the rest was easy! I thought there was just a chance of seeing you. When do you leave?”
“I was to have gone this morning—no, I’m not quite sure now when I’ll go; soon, though. Yes, if you like; no, not to-night, to-morrow. Oh, Bruce, were you on Fifth Avenue just near the Public Library yesterday about noon? Weren’t you? I was sure I saw you. It looked like you—well, like I think you look—that’s terribly involved.
But I suppose we will both look different, won’t we? Eight-thirty to-morrow then—good-bye.”
And then she leaned back against her pillows, looking a little breathlessly at the telephone which had worked a resurrection. “Queer,” she thought. “Poor overworked old Fate finding time to notice me amongst so many millions.” Then she laughed. “Yes, but didn’t I just jog her elbow a little with that note?” And did she really want to see this Bruce Grant to whom she had once been engaged? She wasn’t sure. She wasn’t sure at all!
MOST matter of fact was their meeting in the chintzdecked hotel lounge. Not the least bit awkward. “You look well, Helen—and so very little changed.” “That was nice of Bruce,” she thought, and noticing the little lines around his eyes, and thinking what kind, direct eyes they were, she said:
“After father married again I decided to live with Anne. His wife is a dear, but it seemed wiser. Anne told you, didn’t she, that year I was abroad?” A happy topic that to have introduced—they talked of London, and Paris, and Edinburgh—then came back again to Anne.
They rather clung to Anne. And rather carefully avoided reminiscences . . .
“Would you like to go up to Central Park and hear the Goldman Orchestra?” he asked. “It’s hot here and they are playing Schubert to-night.”
And as they sat amongst all those other listening people the music stole into little nooks and crannies of her
memory. She wondered what Bruce was thinking. Was the music making queer little excursions into his memory, too?
Back at the hotel after the concert he said abruptly: “Don’t go to the Adirondacks just yet, Helen. Stay a week longer and let me see something of you.”
She was amazed at the quickness of her decision, but she fenced a little.
“If I do, will you let me see all the queer things that social workers like?”
That night she posted a note to Olga postponing her visit, and the next evening she said to Bruce;
“Take me down through Wall Street. I want to see it at night.”
It had been raining, and great pools of water reflected the moonlight which shone so whitely on the old churchyard at the end of che street. He told her tales of people he knew. Of fortunes made or lost overnight.
“Do you still speculate, Bruce—you were always a bit of a gambler, weren’t you?”
“Perhaps I was, Helen. I played high for my farm and lost. But I don’t speculate now. I just salt down some of my salary and most of my commission.”
“Why?” she wondered. It didn’t sound like Bruce.
Walking slowly, they came to Battery Park where crowds of people, undismayed by damp benches, laughed or quarrelled, talked or made love.
“Let’s stay here a few minutes, Bruce.”
“All ’•ight, Helen, but wait till I spread my paper on this bench.”
“I warned you, didn’t I, that I would like queer places . . .” Just then a cat jumped to the sill of one of the Aquarium windows, trying to squeeze through the bars which guarded the fish tanks.
“That little creature knows what it wants, doesn’t it, Bruce?”
Yes, but it can’t get it. though.”
“Well, it’s lucky to know what it wants, anyway. That’s what it is to be primitive and instinctive. No complications—”
“Don’t you know what you want, Helen?”
“No,” she said, slowly, thinking of her work, of her friends in the mountains, of the man beside her. “No, I don’t think I do, quite—do you?”
“Yes,” he replied. “I know. Perhaps I’m just primitive and instinctive too. I’ve always wanted two things, satisfying work and—.” Then he jumped up quickly, leaving his sentence unfinished.
“It’s early yet—let's take the Staten Island Ferry over and back. I want you to see the harbor in this moonlight.” Returning, they stopped at the old Mansion in Van Court -landt Park for tea. As they waited for the tray Bruce said to her;
“Do you remember the day we explored the old How-ard House in High Park?”
She w;as surprised at his “Do you remember”—he had
avoided reminiscences—but she replied:
‘Yes, indeed. I fell in love with the rowan berries against the gray stucco, and you bribed the caretaker to let us go in. Oh, and do you remember the deserted, lovely old drawdng room and that furniture simply begging to be done over?”
“Yes. You w-anted to go right down and storm the city hall about it and then suddenly you forgot all about it and said, ‘Let’s play “Great Expectations.’ 111 be Miss Havisham and you can be the boy and play!’ ”
“What a child I w^as, Bruce. Does it seem odd to find me changed?”
“You don’t seem very much changed to me,” he said. “Sometimes I don’t realize that you are changed—or about your work.” Continued on page 69 Tea came and ended that old game “Do-you-remember-this-and-that,” and as she poured his tea she thought:
Locked Gardens and a Key
Continued from page 21
“We’re just a little afraid of old memories. We’re a little bit like two people who have walked out of a garden and lost the key.”
HE plan for Sunday was his . . . a long drive, with dinner at a quiet spot beside the sea. And after that drive Helen knew that they were still comrades ;—playmates. They found so many new interests to share, had kept step in so many things. He stood so stalwartly against the background of her newer friends. But after that drive she realized, too, that of the Bruce who had once loved her she had seen no trace—not one.
“You should be glad he feels about you just as you do about him. You know
you’ve always despised acquisitivewomen and boasted that you weren’t the possessive type at all. You should be glad he is so sensible about you.” So she argued with herself—only her arguments did not quite convince. She still felt an odd little pang.
Tuesday came, the last day of that week she had promised Bruce. The temperature stood at ninety. Instead of lectures Helen went to the Women’s Court on Seventh Avenue. An endless procession of women—so young, many of them, filed past the bench, answering questions which she could not hear, in voices which the traffic drowned. The sight of their pretty, rouged faces, brazen or pitiful, sullen or frightened, tore her heart.
“I wouldn’t mind so much if I had something to do,” she thought. “But just to sit and watch as though it were a dreadful sort of play! We aren’t doing half enough to get away back at the causes of all this!”
She rose and left the court, but with her went the memory of those endless high French heels, those slender ankles in thinnest chiffon hose, and all those faces which had once turned so eagerly and expectantly towards life.
"It’s going to rain,” she thought. “I’d love a big storm. It’s just what New York and I need to-day.” But it did not rain, though when Bruce came that evening the storm still threatened.
“Let’s go over into the square, and read,” she said. “It’s too hot to go anywhere to-night, and besides I’m tired to death—tired of people.”
“Awful sentiments for a social worker,” he said as he unlocked the big iron gates. “Soon you’ll be agreeing with that chap who said democracy is the drain pipe through which people have to crawl for their own good—•”
“Goodness, Bruce, I didn’t know you read current fiction. I thought history, with a touch of agriculture—irrigation, chemical fertilizers—things like that were more in your line.”
“So they are. Still my friends insist on lending me books now and chen, ‘The Green Hat,’ ‘The White Monkey,’—you know the sort of thing—He unfolded his paper.
She studied his face over its edge. He was attractive. Not handsome, but his blue eyes could light up delightfully, even if his jaw wassquarer and firmer than ever. She wondered about those friends of his who lent him books. Women, of course. He seemed to be neglecting them this week. Still they had probably fled to the sea or the mountains! She wondered why he had not married one of these friends of his—and was amazed to hear herself asking-—
“Bruce, why haven’t you married?” The question startled him straight out of the stock quotations, but he folded his paper slowly before answering.
“You know why, Helen. You know the real reason. I left Toronto determined to put that deal through and get things right between us. Then the war came and suspended everything. Afterwards, the minute I was on my feet, I wrote you. When you didn’t answer the bottom dropped out of things—I watched every mail for weeks. Then I just deliberately set out to forget all about you—to put someone else in your place. She was a little girl from Virginia, trying to make her living in New York. Some friend got her a filing job in our office. She was just about as out of place as a butterfly in the stock exchange. Well, I tried to make things decent for her, and then I got fond of her, too . .
AND then Helen knew. All at once she knew that it wasn’t just her old comrade she wanted. She wanted that other Bruce. She still cared for this man who was telling her so calmly about another girl. Cared so desperately that she shivered a little and moved farther away from him. And then she said, hoping that he would not notice how dull her voice was:
“What was she like, Bruce?” “Oh, pretty, you know, fair, brought up just to have a good time. Then her aunt died without a will, and there she was without a cent. Proud, though. Simply determined to make money enough to study something. Well, she promised to marry me and then along came a cousin of hers; they’d always been in love, it turned out, only their families had made trouble. Well, they’re all right now—”
“Poor old Bruce—•” “Oh, no sympathy required, Helen. She was too nice to be anyone’s second choice, and anyway she’d have been miserable on the farm—
“The farm, Bruce!” “Yes, I’ve been intending to tell you. I’ve got an option on one near Plamilton. Fruit mostly, but quite a lot of land, too. I’ve got plans for that. It’s an idea I’ve been working out. Not the glorified sort of farm I once expected to have I suppose it’s really just a sort of truck farm only I’m going to call it a vitamin /arm and make it one. I’m going to specialize in things with high vitamin value. There’s good advertising in the idea-your public health friends are working it up with their health teaching, too. The place is well located for the Toronto, Hamilton and London markets. The smaller ones, too 5t. Catharines, Woodstock, Brantford—”
“It sounds awfully interesting, Bruce, i3Ut I can’t see you—I just simply can’t jee you really doing it.”
“Well, I’m going to. Expect to close Ihe deal any time now. I’ve got to have that farm, and I want to get back to my own country.”
“That sounds queer, too, Bruce. You always said it didn’t matter much where a man lived—”
“I used to think that. But it does for me, Helen. I see that now. I’ve got to have roots. This country’s all right. It’s fine. But I’ve never really felt that 1 belonged. So I’m going back home to grow vitamins—fruit and vegetables in summer, and tomatoes under glass in winter. Duty on imported stuff from the south is going up and peoplewon’tdowithout it any more, so that’s my chance. And some day, if I can forget you, Helen, I’ll be happy—”
“But you did forget me, didn’t you, three years ago?”
“Well,” he said, slowly. “I tried to. I’m only human and I decided that I was a fool to turn flesh and blood into a memorial tablet. I was sorry for her and sometimes things about her reminded me of you and I got fond of her. But it wasn’t forgetting. It was one way of remembering.”
And Helen, who had learned a good deal about human nature, wondered whether he was right.
THE Metropolitan clock was flashing eleven but a long peal of thunder dulled its chime. People hurried to the gates.
“That storm’s coming at last; we’d better go, Bruce.”
“Let’s risk it a minute or two longer—” and they sat in the deserted garden watching the long, vivid flashes. Heat lay like a pall. The sturdy golden-glow and geraniums drooped. Suddenly a little sprite of a breeze danced in, stirring the jaded senses of the old elm till all its leaves whispered of old times, reviving the faint song of the fountain.
“Strange sounds to hear just off Broadway, aren’t they, Bruce?”
For answer he took her hand and held it against his cheek, bending nearer to look into her eyes.
“Does it remind you of anything, Helen?”
“Yes,” she said slowly. “It makes me think of the old Springs Road at Erindale.” And then she was back again in the circle of his arms. His lips were against her cheek, her eyes—his breathless kisses on her lips—
At the first slow, tepid drops ofrainthey drew apart, then walked slowly toward the gates. Standing there a moment with the rain against their faces, he said:
“I shouldn’t have done that, Helen. I had no right to kiss you. I’m just where I was ten years ago. Perhaps this farm idea is just another gamble, and it’s taking every cent I’ve got.”
He unlocked the gates and they passed out.
REFUSING her offer of shelter—the rain was beating heavily against the hotel portico—he hailed a passing taxi and as it drew up, he said:
> “I’m going to Washington to-morrow. I’ll phone you when I get back.”
Upstairs in her room she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror, walked over and looked more carefully. Her hair was ruffled and the rain had curled it into little rings. Her cheeks were flushed.
“Why, you’re almost pretty. You are pretty. Not a bit like the tired, dull Helen Leawhowentoverto that garden to-night. You know perfectly well you’re happy.” Then she undressed quickly and right under the stern eye of the big clock sat down by the window to think it all out.
Bruce still cared for her. And she cared for him. Of course she did. She wondered if she had really ever stopped caring. She wonderedif queer, clever Anne had guessed it all along. And he had gone off to Washington to think it over! She was quite sure of that. He was remembering how she hated the farm and how she loved her work and her independence!
Suppose he decided to give up the farm and stay where he was! Ten years ago she would have thought that a triumph. But not now. She knew better now. She was beginning to understand him. And she was beginning to understand herself. But he wouldn’t give up his plan—not
this time. No, he would come back determined to put things on a matter-of-fact basis until he got the farm going. She knew his grim purpose and his pride! And it might take so long. She remembered his set face as the gates had closed behind them.
What would she do? She just couldn’t stay and welcome back agrim, determined Bruce. They wouldn’t be comfortable comrades any more. The garden was locked again and he wouldn’t even look over the wall unless she surprised him into doing it!
And then she knew all at once what she was going to do. Knew so certainly and surely that she just climbed into bed and went to sleep. Not even the fact that a saucy little breeze beat a tattoo with her window blind, not even the memory of his kisses against her lips, could keep her awake . . .
Early next morning, Helen, who always lined her fluffy little clouds of kindness with silver, sent black Arthur northward. Returning he displayed a ticket and a Pullman reservation.
“Yes, miss, right in the centah of the cah—thank you, miss.”
And then there were dozens of things to do . . .
Late that afternoon, her trunk gone, only her dressing bag, that snapper-up of unconsidered trifles remaining, she wrote a letter. Her train left at seven-ten and she had a few minutes to spare before her early dinner.
As her taxi turned up Lexington Avenue she looked back at the little square. “Some moonlight night I hope a little ghost of the seventies will slip in and plant a memory garden there—iris, and bleeding heart, and pansies, and lavender and mignonette—”
But the jostling crowds of the Grand Central Station scattered her thoughts I and she followed the red cap to her train.
Two days later the room clerk handed Bruce his key and Helen’s letter. She had been right. He had done a little business and much thinking in Washington. He loved her. He always had. In spite of the slighting things people said about constancy nowadays, he always would. He couldn’t give her up. But he couldn’t give up the farm either. Both needs were fundamental. . . .
Odd that she should write instead of telephoning.
He read the letter through quickly, then turned the page and read it very slowly.
“Dear Bruce,” she wrote. “I’ve discovered two things since you left. The first is that if two people are lucky enough to want something which they have a right to want, they are foolish not to take it. And my second discovery is a sudden interest in a course which Anne is going to take in Guelph next week—Rural Community Life. I’m going to take it, too. One never knows when information like that will be useful. Write and tell me what you think of the idea. I’m so sorry not to see you to say goodbye. Sincerely, Helen.”
Putting the letter back in its envelope he took out his pen, looked at his watch, then put his pen away.
“No,” he said to himself. “I’m not going to write to her.” Instead he went to the telephone and called up his office.
THE next morning, on the veranda of a Toronto apartment house, leisurely preparation for breakfast was in progress. By a fair division of labor Anne arranged the gay Italian china on the table beside the couch hammock, Helen picked a big bunch of pansies from the flower boxes which were her special joy, while in the living room the percolator loudly proclaimed that it was making the coffee. When the bell rang sharply, Helen, opening the door, found herself gathered —pansies and allinto the clasp of a pair of strong arms. . . .
“Why, Bruce, how—where—when—” And he, laughing, and with his lips against her cheek, was saying,
“New York Central, Union Station—I want to take you over to see the farm to-day, so I came straight up from the station. I was afraid of missing you.”
And Anne, recognizing his voice, and with her faith in the subtle powers of suggestion forever established, called gaily:
“You're just in time for breakfast, Bruce; the coffee will be ready in a minute.”