“Leave me to tell him,” I said. “Do you faithfully promise me?”
I could see how difficult it was for them to keep back their tears, but they gave me their word and that was all I wanted.
“My boy! My poor boy veen! He’s thinking there isn’t another woman in the world like her,” said Christian Ann.
And then Father Dan said something about my mother extracting the same promise concerning myself, when I was a child at school.
After that the Blackwater doctor stepped up to say good-bye.
“I leave you in good hands, but you must let me come to see you again some day,” he said, and then with a playful smile he added:
“They’ve got lots of angels up in heaven—we must try to keep some of them on earth, you know.”
That was on the fifth of July, old Midsummer Day, which is our national day in Ellan, and flags were flying over many of the houses in the village.
JULY 6. I feel so much better to-day. I hardly know what reaction of my whole being, physical and spiritual, has set in since yesterday, but my heart is lighter than for a long time, and sleep, which I had come to look upon as a lost blessing, came to me last night for four solid hours—beautiful and untroubled as a child’s.
* * * * *
JULY 8. Martin writes that he expects to be here on the 12th. Letter full of joyous spirits. “Lots to tell you when I reach home, dearest.” Strange! No mortal can imagine how anxious I am to get him back, yet I almost dread his coming. When he was away before, Time could not go fast enough for me. Now it is going too fast. I know what that means—the story I have to tell. How am I to tell it?
* * * * *
JULY 10. Only two days more and Martin will be here. Of course I must be up when he arrives. Nurse says No, but I say Yes. To be in bed when he comes would be too much a shock for him.
“Servants are such domineering tyrants,” says Christian Ann, who never had but one, and “the strange woman” was such a phantom in the house that the poor mistress was grateful to God when Hollantide came round and the ghost walked away of itself. My nurse is a dear, though. How glad I am now that I persuaded Christian Ann to let her stay.
* * * * *
JULY 12. Martin comes to-day, and the old doctor (with such a proud and stately step) has gone off to Blackwater to meet him. I am terribly weak (no pain whatever), but perfectly resolute on dressing and going downstairs towards tea-time. I shall wear a white tea-gown, which Sister Mildred gave me in London. Martin likes me best in white.
* * * * *
LATER. My Martin has come! We had counted it up that travelling across the island by motor-car he would arrive at five, so I was dressed and downstairs by four, sitting in the chiollagh and watching the road through the window opposite. But he was half an hour late, and Christian Ann and I were in such a fever that anybody would have believed it to be half a century and that the world had stood still.