In the morning Gertrude was quite herself again. She would not hear of the doctor’s being called, declaring that she needed nothing but a few days’ rest. Veronica would not leave her; but sent word to Sabina, to ask her to take her place for a few days, which she knew she could rely upon her to do gladly, for Sabina was extremely friendly, and very proud of her former pupil, who had been a great credit to her in the position for which she had recommended her.
That day and the next night Mother Gertrude remained quiet, and seemed to sleep most of the time. On the third day, it was evident that she was looking for something, whenever she opened her eyes, although she was not at all delirious; and she frequently exclaimed,
“Oh! if I could only see him once more!”
When the sunset light streamed through the window and illuminated the room, a happy smile lighted up her face. She murmured:
“He half in dreamland
seemed to float
Saying ‘to-morrow will be fine.’”
After a while she turned towards Veronica and said,
“Veronica, sing it again, with him please; it is beautiful, and I like to hear you sing together: ‘To-morrow will be fine.’”
“You have been dreaming, mother; we have not been singing,” said the poor girl, wiping away her fast-flowing tears.
It was dark now and all was still. The little night-lamp threw a pale light upon the bed, where the mother lay in a half-sleep. Veronica sat by with big wide-open eyes. Her restless thoughts were busy with many questions. Had he received her letter? Would he come? How? When? and how would the mother be? Suddenly Gertrude rose up in bed with greater strength than she had shown for many days. “Go! go! Veronica,” she said beseechingly, “Open the door for him! He ought not to stand there knocking like a stranger. Show him how glad we are to see him again!”
“No one is knocking, mother; you are only dreaming,” said Veronica sadly shaking her head; but the longing in Gertrude’s eyes was more than she could resist, and she rose and left the room, thinking to please her by compliance. She heard a step; but then the road ran in front of the house, and it might be any passer-by. She opened the outside door—Dietrich stood before her!
“You summoned me, or I should not have come;” said the young man, half in excuse, and half reassuringly, for Veronica stood dumb and motionless before him. “Will you not shake hands, Veronica?”