"I know," whispered Joan. "I've been there, too. I knew you were doing it, though I didn't quite know how--till the other day. I wouldn't think. I wanted to pretend that I didn't. I know all you can say. I've been listening to it. It was right of you to want to give it all up to me for his sake. But it would be wrong of me to take it. I don't quite see why. I can't explain it. But I mustn't. So you see it would be no good."
"But I'm so useless," pleaded the woman.
"I said that," answered Joan. "I wanted to do it and I talked and talked, so hard. I said everything I could think of. But that was the only answer: I mustn't do it."
They remained for a while with their arms round one another. It struck Joan as curious, even at the time, that all feeling of superiority had gone out of her. They might have been two puzzled children that had met one another on a path that neither knew. But Joan was the stronger character.
"I want you to give me up that box," she said, "and to come away with me where I can be with you and take care of you until you are well."
Mrs. Phillips made yet another effort. "Have you thought about him?" she asked.
Joan answered with a faint smile. "Oh, yes," she said. "I didn't forget that argument in case it hadn't occurred to the Lord."
"Perhaps," she added, "the helpmate theory was intended to apply only to our bodies. There was nothing said about our souls. Perhaps God doesn't have to work in pairs. Perhaps we were meant to stand alone."