Indeed, he made an attempt to do so when, as consciousness came back, Katy lay so pale and still before him; but Katy did not understand him or guess that he wished her to meet him more than half the way, and so the verdict was unchanged, and in a kind of bewilderment, Katy wrote the hurried letter, feeling less actual pain than did its readers, for the disappointment had stunned her for a time, and all she could remember of the passage home on that same night when Mark Ray sat with Helen in the sitting-room at Silverton, was that there was a fearful storm of rain mingled with lightning flashes and thunder peals, which terrified the other ladies, but brought to her no other sensation save that it would not be so very hard to perish in the dark waters dashing so madly about the vessel’s side.
A new life.
“New York, December 16th.
“To Miss Helen Lennox, Silverton, Mass.:
“Your sister is very ill. Come as soon as possible.
This was the purport of a telegram received at the farmhouse toward the close of a chill December day, and Helen’s heart almost stopped its beating as she read it aloud, and then looked in the white, scared faces of those around her. Katy was very ill—dying, perhaps—or Wilford had never telegraphed. What could it be? What was the matter? Had it been somewhat later, they would have known; but now all was conjecture worse than useless, and in a half-distracted state Helen made her hasty preparations for the journey on the morrow, and then sent for Morris, hoping he might offer some advice or suggestion for her to carry to that sickroom in New York.
“Perhaps you will go with me,” Helen said. “You know Katy’s constitution. You might save her life.”
But Morris shook his head. If he was needed they might send and he would come, but not without; and so next day he carried Helen to the cars, saying to her, as they were waiting for the train: “I hope for the best, but it may be Katy will die. If you think so, tell her. Oh, tell her! of the better world, and ask if she is prepared. I cannot lose her in heaven.”
And this was all the message Morris sent, though his heart and prayers went after the rapid train which bore Helen safely onward, until Hartford was reached, where there was a long detention, so that the dark wintry night had closed over the city ere Helen had reached it, timid, anxious, and wondering what she should do if Wilford was not there to meet her. “He will be, of course,” she kept repeating to herself, looking around in dismay, as passenger after passenger left, seeking in stages and street cars a swifter passage to their homes.
“I shall soon be all alone,” she said, feeling some relief as the car in which she was seated began at last to move, and she knew she was being taken whither the others had gone, wherever that might be.