“I’ve already booked passage. I’m going,” Eden insisted to a distraught Eleanor.
“So you’ve booked passage—it can be delayed. We will go back to Boston together in the spring. You needn’t go now, nor go alone—and you certainly needn’t run away to the middle of nowhere!”
Eden would hear nothing in opposition to her plan, but anticipating it, had already booked her boat and stood now, throwing clothes and paint tubes and brushes into a trunk with no care as to where they fell.
“It is not the middle of nowhere, Eleanor, it’s my home! It’s been too long since I’ve seen my family. I need to see them now. It’s where I belong—at least…I don’t belong in Paris.” She began this declaration with bluster but ended it less certainly.
“But you do belong in Paris! Paris loves you. Your career is beginning if you will only paint again. You can’t leave now.”
There was a long silence.
“Darling…” Eleanor tried again, calmer this time.
But Eden cut her off. “I’m not your darling,” she said coolly.
“Eden—” But Eden would not let her speak.
“I used to think you knew everything about the world and I knew nothing. But there are things you could never understand. It’s all so easy for you! You love no one. You owe nothing. You own so much. But you don’t own me, Eleanor, and for all your money you will never buy me!”
“Eden, don’t be cruel,” Eleanor told her in a breaking voice. “You know that is not…” but she stopped. It was useless to go on.
Eden immediately regretted her words. But she didn’t apologize. Instead she cast her eyes to the floor and finished more gently, “I’m going tomorrow. I’ll write when I get there.”
And she closed the lid of her trunk and sat upon it as if afraid Eleanor might steal it to prevent her going.
Eleanor gave Eden a long, silent look. Then she retired to her own room without a word.
In the morning when Eleanor rose and went down for coffee, Eden was gone. The older woman walked out to the cold garden, sat down in her favorite chair, put her face in her hands and shook with grief.