Table of Contents

+ Add to Library

Previous Next

II

  • She went up to the Tansy Patch in the dusk to take back a book Mrs. Kent had
  • lent her the night before. The visit must be made before Teddy came home. She
  • had been up to the Tansy Patch several times since that first evening and an
  • odd sort of friendship had sprung up between her and Mrs. Kent. They lent each
  • other books and talked of everything except the one thing that mattered most
  • to them. The book Emily was returning was an old copy of  _The South African
  • Farm._  Emily had expressed a wish to read it and Mrs. Kent had gone upstairs
  • and presently came down with it—her white face a little whiter and the scar
  • burning redly across it as always when she was deeply moved.
  • "Here is the book you want," she said. "I had it in a box upstairs."
  • Emily finished reading the book before she went to sleep. She was not sleeping
  • well now and the nights were long. The book had a musty, unaired
  • odour—evidently the box Mrs. Kent spoke of had not been opened for a long
  • time. And in it Emily found a thin letter, unstamped, addressed to Mrs. David
  • Kent.
  • The curious thing about the letter was that it was, apparently, unopened.
  • Well, letters often re-sealed themselves like that, if placed under pressure,
  • when the flap had pulled open untorn in the first opening. Not likely it was
  • of much significance. But of course she would mention it when she took the
  • book back.
  • "Did you know there was a letter in this book, Mrs. Kent?"
  • "A letter. Did you say a letter?"
  • "Yes. Addressed to you."
  • Emily held the letter out to Mrs. Kent, whose face became ghastly as she
  • looked at the handwriting.
  • "You found that—in that book?" she whispered. "In that book that hasn't been
  • opened for over twenty-five years? Do you know—who wrote this letter?
  • My—husband wrote it—and I have never read it—never known of it."
  • Emily felt herself in the presence of some tragedy—the secret torture of Mrs.
  • Kent's life, perhaps.
  • "I will go away—so that you can read it alone," she said gently and went out,
  • leaving Mrs. Kent standing in the shadowy little room, holding the letter in
  • her hand—as one might hold a snake.