“Can you bear good news?” he asked, bending upon her eyes which held for her the light of loving sympathy. “Will you be as brave as you have been all these years? I was called away yesterday——”
“Ralph!” she gasped, catching his arm in the excitement of hope.
“Yes—Ralph,” he said, placing his arm about her; “he is cleared at last. The man I was called to see was James Green, Ralph’s fellow-clerk. He was run down by a heavy furniture van and badly crushed. I could not save him, but he knew me, and gave me this paper, which is a confession of his guilt. It completely exonerates your brother.”
“Thank God!” she fervently exclaimed, clasping the paper to her heart.
“Shall we tell Mrs. Haydn?” he asked, still gravely supporting her.
“By all means,” was her happy answer through shining tears; “now—this moment,” leading him away. “Joy does not kill.”
It did not kill; it only braced the grateful sufferer for the ordeal set for the next day.
“Find my boy as soon as you can and bring him to me,” was her prayer; and with a sense of comfort long a stranger, the mother slept peacefully on this, her last night perhaps, of blindness.
The next day she was made ready for her couch, where she was to lie in perfect quiet after the operation. At two o’clock, Dr. Douglas, with two young assistants, entered easily and cheerfully upon his task.
“Are you strong enough to witness it?” he asked in alow voice, as Doris took her stand.
She bowed her head, and the work began. It was neither long nor difficult. A little cocaine in the eye, a quick, perpendicular incision, the deft scooping from the orifice of a hard, pearly ball like an opal setting, a cleansing of film by one skillful sweep, and all was over.
“Close the eye for a moment,” was his order, as incomplete silence the trio hung upon the result.
“Now open it and look.”
As the lids parted, he held his hand before them, moving his fingers in quick succession.
“What is it?” she asked.
“Well,” he spoke playfully, as to a child; “what is it? I want you to tell me. Do you see anything?”
“Yes, I see—a hand, but—it looks blue.”
At this the surgeon clasped his hands in thanksgiving, and exclaimed: “Victory! If you did not see the blue coloring at first, madam, I should be in despair.”
Yes, victory was his, for his skill and for his love. He continued his tests, first by resting the eye, then by bringing objects within the range of vision. At last he gently led Doris in full view.
“It is Doris, my faithful, patient child, whose dear face I have not seen for so long,” she said with emotion that threatened tears, but this the doctor forbade, and proceeded at once to carefully seal the patient’s eyelids.
“Keep the room light, and watch her day and night. She must not touch the eye even in sleep,” was his parting injunction.