The latter smiled and pressed Mrs. Hampton’s hand more firmly. Then her eyes became moist, and a tear stole down her cheek. At once Mrs. Hampton aroused to action, and dropping upon her knees by the sofa she put her arms lovingly about the girl and kissed her upon the lips. Her heart was too full for utterance. This was her own child, she had no doubt about that now. Her dream was fulfilled in a wonderful manner. She looked into the clear eyes, drank in the beauty of her face, and stroked her soft hair. So this was her own child, the one she had longed to behold for so many years. She was with her at last. But the girl must never know. She must never call her “mother.” The thought was terrible. Her own daughter, and yet not her own. She had sold her for money, and how she would spurn her should she ever hear of it. It was almost more than she could endure. In her confusion she tried to say something, to utter words of welcome. But all in vain. A feeling of helplessness and despair swept upon her, so throwing her arms impulsively about the girl’s neck, and burying her face upon her breast, she sobbed as if her heart would break. The maddening tension of long years had at last given way, and tears, unknown before, brought a blessed relief.
CAPTAIN SAM’L GOES HOME
As Mrs. Tobin walked with her husband from the shore the evening she took him off the “Eb and Flo,” she maintained a rigid silence. The captain was well accustomed to this mood, and it always affected him more than the scolding. He knew then that his wife’s anger was more than ordinary, and it was necessary for him to use all the diplomacy at his command.
“I’ve been thinkin’, Martha, that you need a holiday,” he at length ventured. “Ye haven’t taken one fer a long time now. A trip to Fredericton would do ye a world of good. Yer nephew wrote fer ye to come an’ see him.”
Mrs. Tobin, however, was not inclined to discuss this subject, dear though it was to her heart. She had often planned such a trip, but she had something more serious to think about just now. She strode rapidly forward, causing the captain to puff at a great rate in his effort to keep up with her. He became annoyed.
“Say, Martha,” he panted, “I’m not used to sich a gait as this, even if you are. Yer hittin’ the ground so fast an’ hard with them boots of yours that it’s gittin’ hot. I kin almost see the grass smokin’. Phew, I’m all in!” He slowed down, pulled out his handkerchief, and mopped his brow. “Go on, if ye want to. I’ll be home after a while.”
This appeal had some effect, for Mrs. Tobin stayed her steps a little.
“Thar, that’s better, Martha,” the captain encouraged.
“Ye kin slow up when ye want to. I wish to goodness ye’d slow up in other ways. Ye’ve been settin’ me a lively pace ever since we was married, an’ it’s gittin’ faster every year. Me heart can’t stand much more, so if yer not keerful ye’ll be lookin’ around fer another husband before long. But I pity him, poor chap, an’ if I only knew who he might be I’d give him a note of warnin’ while I’m in the flesh.”