“It was kind in you to do this,” Margaret said, and then, with her arm round Rose’s waist, she spoke of the coming time when the sun of another hemisphere would be shining down upon her, saying she should think often of that hour, that spot, and that sister, who answered: “Every year when the spring rains fall I shall come to see that the grave has been well kept, for you know that she was my mother, too,” and she pointed to the name of “Hester,” deep cut in the polished marble.
“Not yours, Rose, but mine,” said Maggie. “My mother she was, and as such I will cherish her memory.” Then, with her arm still around her sister’s waist, she walked slowly back to the house.
A little later, and while Arthur Carrollton, with Maggie at his side, was talking to her of something which made the blushes burn on her still pale cheeks, Madam Conway herself walked out to witness the improvements, lingering longest at the little grave, and saying to herself, “It was very thoughtful in Arthur, very, to do what I should have done myself ere this had I not been afraid of Margaret’s feelings.”
Then, turning to the new monument, she admired its chaste beauty, but hardly knew whether she was pleased to have it there or not.
“It’s very handsome,” she said, leaving the yard, and walking backward to observe the effect. “And it adds much to the looks of the place. There is no question about that. It is perfectly proper, too, or Mr. Carrollton would never have put it here, for he knows what is right, of course,” and the still doubtful lady turned away, saying as she did so, “On the whole, I think I am glad that Hester has a handsome monument, and I know I am glad that Mrs. Miller’s is a little the taller of the two!”
August eighteenth, 1858.
Years hence, if the cable resting far down in the mermaids’ home shall prove a bond of perfect peace between the mother and her child, thousands will recall the bright summer morning when through the caverns of the mighty deep the first electric message came, thrilling the nation’s heart, quickening the nation’s pulse, and, with the music of the deep-toned bell and noise of the cannon’s roar, proclaiming to the listening multitude that the isle beyond the sea, and the lands which to the westward lie, were bound together, shore to shore, by a strange, mysterious tie. And two there are who, in their happy home, will oft look back upon that day, that 18th day of August, which gave to one of Britain’s sons as fair and beautiful a bride as e’er went forth from the New England hills to dwell beneath a foreign sky.