* * * * *
New Year’s Eve comes in cold, and a deep snow envelops the earth. A wedding party at the corner house on Danville street is the event of the evening. Roye Howard and Daisy Mentelle have just taken their marriage vows, and the house is crowded with guests. Just before supper a new arrival startles and astonishes the brilliant company. Henry Clay, grown grey with years and honors, is among them, never having lost sight of his protege. After congratulating the pair and kissing the bride, he bade her come with him to another apartment; and when she had wonderingly obeyed, he proudly presented to her a handsome lady richly dressed in mourning.
“This, my dear, is your mother. I have not rested till I found her.”
“It is she—it is she, indeed,” exclaimed the noble-looking woman—“my own little Ray—my Daisy!” and the mother clasped her newfound darling to her breast in a passion of thankfulness and joy.
“This is my bridal present, my dear,” said the statesman, after much had been told, and Roye admitted to the circle.
“Since your letter of inquiry to me, my search has been constant. Your father is no more, but this boon is the greatest of all. Receive her with my blessing. Three times have I passed through your town. Always has it held a warm place in my heart. May every succeeding twelve months bring to you as happy a New Year!”
“AND THERE WAS LIGHT”
“Are you inflexible, Doris? Can nothing alter your decision?”
“Spare us both further pain, Warner. I cannot leave my blind mother. It is useless to ask it.”
“And do I ask it? You can still care for your mother. I do not ask you to leave her.”
The girl shook her head sadly.
“As a wife I must go with my husband. In the conflict of duties the mother must yield. No, no, it would be cruel.”
“Even admitting this, is there not a way out of it? Will she not try to have her sight restored? Once relieved she might depend upon others, and be content without you. Then you could come to me.”
“I dare not urge this. Think what she endured before—the operation, the mismanagement, the suffering, and the final loss of the eye itself. Oh, Warner, the recollection of that terrible time makes me shudder. I pray that she may forget it. I dare not urge another trial. Spare me that.”