When the hotel opened anew, the daily press blazoned to the world the fact, giving a personal paragraph to the officials, and including a list of well-known names, among them the humble one of Teresa O’Toole, who had been a chambermaid there during sixty years. This scrap of paper was held fast in the horny fingers, and seemed to the fevered senses to keep alive the link between her and the only home she knew.
Hither she was borne at last to a small room that was to be her portion and her pension forevermore. Her old quarters, austere and clean and bare, had been effaced by the carpenter’s hammer, and this corner retreat had been partitioned from a domestic recess in the rear. But it was on the parlor floor, that fetich of a devoted life. Crippled and useless, Treesa was an object of unobtrusive care. She kept her shrunken savings about her person, more unwilling than ever to trust the unexplored fields of finance. She grew querulous. She must be getting to her work again. Would the mistress be after letting her earn something—on the parlor floor, she tremulously added. Smiling sadly, permission was granted. Fondly the old creature took up her broom and duster—bought anew for her—and limped painfully toward the beloved rooms—the bridal chambers—the choicest suites where beauty and fashion came. What a journey now! The grand parlors and long corridors were interminable vistas of elegance and luxury. And—ah! what was that clinging to the velvet carpet pile? A bit of paper carelessly let fall? And—yes, was there dust on the polished marble of yon table? Alas! that her dim eyes should live to behold the desecration. What shiftless wretch was doing the parlor floor, and she a useless block in her room!
The shock told. She staggered to a gorgeous sofa near the offending bit of rubbish, and sunk down in the act of reaching for it. This was the beginning of the end. Lying on her bed sleep deserted the fading eyes. An attendant was provided, who grew accustomed to mutterings she could not understand. She ceased to listen. In pity the mistress came often and sat beside the couch. She listened and understood. She gathered the last wishes of the dying, and received as a sacred charge all that the sufferer had to leave. Still the angel of death tarried, until sweet peace shed a radiance over the departing soul, whose faith was steadfast to church and heaven.
At the first faint ray of dawn the mistress arose and went to her. The bed was empty, the nurse asleep. Following the instinct of the moment, the lady hastened along the quiet corridors to where the night taper showed the still form of the devoted veteran stretched out on the thick, soft carpet, her cold fingers clasping the new broom and duster.
THE DOG WITNESS
The court-house was crowded to its utmost capacity. Women as well as men were there to hear the arguments in the case of the Commonwealth against William Grant for the alleged murder of John Belt.