Winter relaxed its clutch slowly that year. March was bitterly cold; even

April found the roads still frozen and the hedgerows clustered with ice.

But at mid-day there was spring in the air. In the courtyard of the

hospital, convalescents sat on the benches and watched for robins. The

fountain, which had frozen out, was being repaired. Here and there on ward

window-sills tulips opened their gaudy petals to the sun.

Harriet had gone abroad for a flying trip in March and came back laden with

new ideas, model gowns, and fresh enthusiasm. She carried out and planted

flowers on her sister's grave, and went back to her work with a feeling of

duty done. A combination of crocuses and snow on the ground had given her


an inspiration for a gown. She drew it in pencil on an envelope on her way

back in the street car.

Grace Irving, having made good during the white sales, had been sent to the

spring cottons. She began to walk with her head higher. The day she sold

Sidney material for a simple white gown, she was very happy. Once a

customer brought her a bunch of primroses. All day she kept them under the

counter in a glass of water, and at evening she took them to Johnny

Rosenfeld, still lying prone in the hospital.

On Sidney, on K., and on Christine the winter had left its mark heavily.

Christine, readjusting her life to new conditions, was graver, more

thoughtful. She was alone most of the time now. Under K.'s guidance, she

had given up the "Duchess" and was reading real books. She was thinking

real thoughts, too, for the first time in her life.

Sidney, as tender as ever, had lost a little of the radiance from her eyes;

her voice had deepened. Where she had been a pretty girl, she was now

lovely. She was back in the hospital again, this time in the children's

ward. K., going in one day to take Johnny Rosenfeld a basket of fruit, saw

her there with a child in her arms, and a light in her eyes that he had

never seen before. It hurt him, rather--things being as they were with him.

When he came out he looked straight ahead.

With the opening of spring the little house at Hillfoot took on fresh

activities. Tillie was house-cleaning with great thoroughness. She

scrubbed carpets, took down the clean curtains, and put them up again

freshly starched. It was as if she found in sheer activity and fatigue a

remedy for her uneasiness.

Business had not been very good. The impeccable character of the little

house had been against it. True, Mr. Schwitter had a little bar and

served the best liquors he could buy; but he discouraged rowdiness--had

been known to refuse to sell to boys under twenty-one and to men who had

already overindulged. The word went about that Schwitter's was no place

for a good time. Even Tillie's chicken and waffles failed against this


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