A Year and a Day
And I promised Terence that I would come back—not Terence Sullivan, but the Terence that lives in there. Please ask some of the Good People to tell him that I will come back to-morrow. Then I will go home with you."
"Take her home! Take her home!" her grandmother cried. And John led her away as fast as he could, while the rest followed.
No one said anything more till they were at home, for it was only a little way. Kathleen scarcely looked at her father till they came into the house, where it was light. "Why, father," she said, "what makes you look so queer? You look so much older than you did yesterday, and you—oh, I am afraid you were dreadfully worried about me. I didn't think you would be—such a little while. I forgot that you would be worried. There was so much to see there, and then I had to take care of the baby—and so I forgot. It was very wrong for me to forget, and I am so sorry you were anxious about me. But I thought of you and grandmother just as we were coming out to dance to-night, and as soon as we were done dancing I was coming home. And why were you all there where we were dancing? Did you think that I would be there? You ought not to have been afraid, father. It was just such a little while."
John did not seem to think anything about its being wrong for Kathleen to forget. He did not seem to think of anything but that she had come back. "Just a little while, do you call it?" he said. "Do you call a year a little while for you to be away from me, Kathleen? And from your grandmother? Don't you see how she has worried about you, too, all this long year? And what could I think but that you was dead? Your grandmother never thought so, but I could think nothing else."
"A year!" Kathleen cried. "What do you mean, father? What do you mean? Oh, grandmother, is there anything wrong? Has he been sick? What is it?"
"Be quiet, John," said Mrs. O'Brien, "and let me talk with Kathleen. Come here, Kathleen. No, there is nothing wrong, dear. Now listen, and answer what I ask you.