The clasp of her hand showed how thoroughly, despite the momentary doubt, she felt with me; and I could not now recur to that secondary selfishness which had so imperiously repelled her from the sick-chamber.
“I have seen,” I repeated, as Eunane still looked earnestly into my face, “and Eveena has seen at the same moment, one long ages since departed this world—the Teacher of this belief, the Founder of that Society which holds it, the ancestor of her own house—in bodily form before us.”
“It is true,” said Eveena, in answer to Eunane’s appealing look.
“And I,” I added, “have seen more than once in my own world the forms of those I have known in life recalled, according to promise, to human eyes.”
The testimony, or the contagion of the strong undoubting confidence we felt therein, if they did not convince the intellect, changed the tone of thought and feeling of the dying girl. Too weak now to reason, or to resist the impression enforced upon her mind by minds always far more powerful than her own in its brightest hours, she turned instinctively from the thought of blackness, senselessness eternal, to that of a Father whose hand could uphold, of the wings that can leap the grave. Her left hand clasped in mine, her right in Eveena’s,— looking most in my face, because weakness leant on strength even more than love appealed to love—Eunane spent the remaining hours of that night in calm contentment and peace. Perhaps they were among the most perfectly peaceful and happy she had known. To strong, warm, sheltering affection she had never been used save in her new home; and in the love she received and returned there was much too strange and self-contradicting to be satisfactory. But no shadow of jealousy, doubt, or contradictory emotion troubled her now: assured of Eveena’s sisterly love as of my own hardly and lately won trust and tenderness.
The light had been long subdued, and the chamber was dim as dimmest twilight, when suddenly, with a smile, Eunane cried—
“It is morning already! and there,—why, there is Erme.”
She stretched out her arms as if to greet the one creature she had loved—perhaps more dearly than she loved those now beside her. The hands dropped; and Eveena’s closed for ever on the sights of this world the eyes whose last vision had been of another.
CHAPTER XXVIII — DARKER YET.
Leading Eveena from the room, I hastily dictated every precaution that could diminish the danger to her and others. Velna had run risks that could not well be increased, and on her and on myself must devolve what remained to be done. I sent an amba to summon Davilo, gathered the garments that Eveena had thrown off, and removed them to the death-chamber. When the first arrangements were made, and I had paid the fee of Astona, the woman-physician, I passed out into the garden, and Davilo met me at the door of the peristyle. A few words explained all that was necessary. It was still almost dark; and as we stood close by the door, speaking in the low tone partly of sadness, partly of precaution, two figures were dimly discernible just inside, and we caught a few broken words.