He was cheery and more casual than ever at breakfast. All day she tried
to devise a way of giving Erik up. Telephone? The village central would
unquestionably "listen in." A letter? It might be found. Go to see
him? Impossible. That evening Kennicott gave her, without comment, an
envelope. The letter was signed "E. V."
I know I can't do anything but make trouble for you, I think. I am going
to Minneapolis tonight and from there as soon as I can either to New
York or Chicago. I will do as big things as I can. I--I can't write I
love you too much--God keep you.
Until she heard the whistle which told her that the Minneapolis train
was leaving town, she kept herself from thinking, from moving. Then it
was all over. She had no plan nor desire for anything.
When she caught Kennicott looking at her over his newspaper she fled
to his arms, thrusting the paper aside, and for the first time in years
they were lovers. But she knew that she still had no plan in life, save
always to go along the same streets, past the same people, to the same
A week after Erik's going the maid startled her by announcing, "There's
a Mr. Valborg down-stairs say he vant to see you."
She was conscious of the maid's interested stare, angry at this
shattering of the calm in which she had hidden. She crept down, peeped
into the living-room. It was not Erik Valborg who stood there; it was a
small, gray-bearded, yellow-faced man in mucky boots, canvas jacket, and
red mittens. He glowered at her with shrewd red eyes.
"You de doc's wife?"
"I'm Adolph Valborg, from up by Jefferson. I'm Erik's father."
"Oh!" He was a monkey-faced little man, and not gentle.
"What you done wit' my son?"
"I don't think I understand you."
"I t'ink you're going to understand before I get t'rough! Where is he?"
"Why, really----I presume that he's in Minneapolis."
"You presume!" He looked through her with a contemptuousness such as
she could not have imagined. Only an insane contortion of spelling could
portray his lyric whine, his mangled consonants. He clamored, "Presume!
Dot's a fine word! I don't want no fine words and I don't want no more
lies! I want to know what you KNOW!"
"See here, Mr. Valborg, you may stop this bullying right now. I'm not
one of your farmwomen. I don't know where your son is, and there's no