“But, aunty, do tell me his name,” I said. “Indeed, it is not merely idle curiosity. I just feel as if I must know it—that it is for something very important. Now you need not smile. I’m very earnest, and I shall not sleep until I know. I really felt a presentiment that if I knew his name it might in some way effect the conclusion of the story.”
“Well, my child, I may as well tell you. Dr. Graham it was—Percy Graham,” Aunt Edna answered, low.
“Ah! did I not tell you? It was not curiosity. Listen, aunty mine. While you were away last winter, papa received a paper from St. Louis; he handed it to me, pointing to an announcement. But I will run get it. He told me to show it to you, and I forgot. I did not dream of all this.”
From my scrap-book I brought the slip, and Aunt Edna read:
of heart disease, on the morning of the
15th, Lilly, wife of Doctor Percy Graham, in the 34th year
of her age.”
Aunt Edna remained holding the paper, without speaking, for some minutes; then, handing it back to me, she said, softly, as if talking to her friend:
“Dear Lilly! Thank heaven, I gave to you the best I had to give, and caused you nought but happiness. God is merciful! Had he been taken, and you left, how could we have comforted you?” And then, turning to me, she said: “Nearly a year it is since Lilly went to heaven. ’Tis strange I have not heard of this.”
“’Tis strange from him you have not heard,” I thought; “and stranger still ’twill be if he comes not when the year is over. For surely he must know that you are free—” But I kept my thoughts, and soon after kissed aunty good-night.
One month passed, and the year was out. And somebody was in our parlor, making arrangements to carry away Aunt Edna. I knew it was he, when he met me at the hall door, and said:
“Edna—Miss Linden! can it be?”
“Yes and no, sir—both—Edna Linden; but, Doctor Graham, not your Edna. You will find her in the parlor,” I answered, saucily, glad and sorry, both, at his coming.
Ah, she welcomed him with profound joy, I know. He knew all; papa had told him. And if he loved the beautiful girl, he then worshipped that noble woman.
“Thank God! Mine at last!” I heard him say, with fervent joy, as I passed the door, an hour after.
How beautiful she was, when, a few weeks after, she became his very own. I stood beside her and drew off her glove. How happy he looked as he placed the heavy gold circlet on her finger! How proudly he bore her down the crowded church aisle!
Ah, little Lilly was no doubt his dear and cherished wife. But this one, ’twas plain to see was the one love of his life.
Fred Loring’s toilet was at length completed, and turning from the glass, he said: