“Hagar,” she essayed to say, but the word died on her lips, for standing there alone, with the daylight fading from the earth, and the lifelight fading from the form before her, it seemed not meet that she should thus address the sleeper. There was a name, however, by which she called another—a name of love, and it would make the withered heart of Hagar Warren bound and beat and throb with untold joy. And Margaret said that name at last, whispering it first softly to herself; then, bending down so that her breath stirred the snow-white hair, she repeated it aloud, starting involuntarily as the rude walls echoed back the name “Grandmother!”
“Grandmother!” Through the senses locked in sleep it penetrated, and the dim eyes, once so fiery and black, grew large and bright again as Hagar Warren woke.
Was it a delusion, that beauteous form which met her view, that soft hand on her brow, or was it Maggie Miller?
“Grandmother,” the low voice said again, “I am Maggie—Hester’s child. Can you see me? Do you know that I am here?”
Yes, through the films of age, through the films of coming death, and through the gathering darkness, old Hagar saw and knew, and with a scream of joy her shrunken arms wound themselves convulsively around the maiden’s neck, drawing her nearer, and nearer still, until the shriveled lips touched the cheek of her who did not turn away, but returned that kiss of love.
“Say it again, say that word once more,” and the arms closed tighter round the form of Margaret, who breathed it yet again, while the childish woman sobbed aloud, “It is sweeter than the angels’ song to hear you call me so.”
She did not ask her when she came—she did not ask her where she had been; but Maggie told her all, sitting by her side with the poor hands clasped in her own; then, as the twilight shadows deepened in the room, she struck a light, and coming nearer to Hagar, said, “Am I much like my mother?”
“Yes, yes, only more winsome,” was the answer, and the half-blind eyes looked proudly at the beautiful girl bending over the humble pillow.
“Do you know that?” Maggie asked, holding to view the ambrotype of Hester Hamilton.
For an instant Hagar wavered, then hugging the picture to her bosom, she laughed and cried together, whispering as she did so, “My little girl, my Hester, my baby that I used to sing to sleep in our home away over the sea.”
Hagar’s mind was wandering amid the scenes of bygone years, but it soon came back again to the present time, and she asked of Margaret whence that picture came. In a few words Maggie told her, and then for a time there was silence, which was broken at last by Hagar’s voice, weaker now than when she spoke before.
“Maggie,” she said, “what of this Arthur Carrollton? Will he make you his bride?”