Emily's Quest

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Vii

"May 1, 19—

"Spring again! Young poplars with golden, ethereal leaves. Leagues of rippling gulf beyond the silver-and-lilac sand-dunes.

"The winter has gone with a swiftness incredible, in spite of some terrible, black three-o'clocks and lonely, discouraged twilights. Dean will soon be home from Florida. But neither Teddy nor Ilse is coming home this summer. This gave me a white night or two recently. Ilse is going to the coast to visit an aunt—a mother's sister who never took any notice of her before. And Teddy has got the chance of illustrating a series of North-west Mounted Police stories for a New York firm and must spend his holidays making sketches for it in the far North. Of course it's a splendid chance for him and I wouldn't be a bit sorry—if he seemed a bit sorry because he wasn't coming to Blair Water. But he didn't.

"Well, I suppose Blair Water and the old life here are to him as a tale that is told now.

"I didn't realize how much I had been building on Ilse and Teddy being here for the summer or how much the hope of it had helped me through a few bad times in the winter. When I let myself remember that not once this summer will I hear Teddy's signal whistle in Lofty John's bush—not once happen on him in our secret, beautiful haunts of lane and brookside—not once exchange a thrilling, significant glance in a crowd when something happened which had a special meaning for us, all the colour seems to die out of life, leaving it just a drab, faded thing of shreds and patches.

"Mrs. Kent met me at the post-office yesterday and stopped to speak—something she very rarely does. She hates me as much as ever.

"'I suppose you have heard that Teddy is not coming home this summer?'

"'Yes,' I said briefly.

"There was a certain odd, aching triumph in her eyes as she turned away—a triumph I understood. She is very unhappy because Teddy will not be home for her but she is exultant that he will not be home for me. This shows, she is almost sure, that he cares nothing about me.

"Well, I dare say she is right. Still one can't be altogether gloomy in spring.

"And Andrew is engaged! To a girl of whom Aunt Addie entirely approves. 'I could not be more pleased with Andrew's choice if I had chosen her myself,' she said this afternoon to Aunt Elizabeth. To Aunt Elizabeth and at me. Aunt Elizabeth was coldly glad—or said she was. Aunt Laura cried a little—Aunt Laura always cries a bit when any one she knows is born or dead or married or engaged or come or gone or polling his first vote. She couldn't help feeling a little disappointed. Andrew would have been such a safe husband for me. Certainly there is no dynamite in Andrew."

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