“Mally! My Mally! My poor, long-suffering darling! My own again, God bless her!”
It was he, it was Martin, my Martin. And, oh Mother of my Lord, he was carrying me upstairs in his arms.
I AM FOUND
My return to consciousness was a painful, yet joyful experience. It was almost like being flung in a frail boat out of a tempestuous sea into a quiet harbour.
I seemed to hear myself saying, “My child shall not die. Poverty shall not kill her. I am going to take her into the country . . . she will recover. . . . No, no, it is not Martin. Martin is dead. . . . But his eyes . . . don’t you see his eyes. . . . Let me go.”
Then all the confused sense of nightmare seemed to be carried away as by some mighty torrent, and there came a great calm, a kind of morning sweetness, with the sun shining through my closed eyelids, and not a sound in my ears but the thin carolling of a bird.
When I opened my eyes I was in bed in a room that was strange to me. It was a little like the Reverend Mother’s room in Rome, having pictures of the Saints on the walls, and a large figure of the Sacred Heart over the mantelpiece; but there was a small gas fire, and a canary singing in a gilded cage that hung in front of the window.
I was trying to collect my senses in order to realize where I was when Sister Mildred’s kind face, in her white wimple and gorget, leaned over me, and she said, with a tender smile, “You are awake now, my child?”
Then memory came rushing back, and though the immediate past was still like a stormy dream I seemed to remember everything.
“Is it true that I saw. . . .”
“Yes,” said Mildred.
“Then he was not shipwrecked?”
“That was a false report. Within a month or two the newspapers had contradicted it.”
“Where is he?” I asked, rising from my pillow.
“Hush! Lie quiet. You are not to excite yourself. I must call the doctor.”
Mildred was about to leave the room, but I could not let her go.
“Wait! I must ask you something more.”
“Not now, my child. Lie down.”
“But I must. Dear Sister, I must. There is somebody else.”
“You mean the baby,” said Mildred, in a low voice.
“She has been found, and taken to the country, and is getting better rapidly. So lie down, and be quiet,” said Mildred, and with a long breath of happiness I obeyed.
A moment afterwards I heard her speaking to somebody over the telephone (saying I had recovered consciousness and was almost myself again), and then some indistinct words came hack in the thick telephone voice like that of a dumb man shouting down a tunnel, followed by sepulchral peals of merry laughter.