To Mrs. Cameron and Juno it was a relief to have Katy taken from their hands, and though they made a show of opposition, they were easily quieted, and helped her off with alacrity, the mother promising to see that the horse was promptly called for, and Juno offering to send the latest fashion which might be suitable, as soon as it appeared. Bell was heartily sorry to part with the young sister who seemed going from her forever.
“I know you will never come back. Something tells me so,” she said as she stood with her arms around Katy’s waist, and her lips occasionally touching Katy’s forehead. “But I shall see you,” she continued; “I am coming to the farmhouse in the summer, to stay ever so long; and you may say to Aunt Betsy that I like her ever so much, and”—here Bell glanced behind her, to see that no one was listening, and then continued—“tell her a certain officer was sick a few days in a hospital last winter, and one of his men brought to him a dish of the most delicious dried peaches he ever ate. That man was from Silverton, and the fruit was sent to him, he said, in a salt bag, by a nice old lady, for whose brother he used to work. Just to think, that the peaches I helped to pare, coloring my hands so that the stain did not come off in a month, should have gone so straight to Bob,” and Bell’s fine features shone with a light which would have told Bob Reynolds he was beloved, even if the lips did not refuse to confess it.
“I’ll tell her,” Katy said, and then bidding them all good-by, and putting her hand on Uncle Ephraim’s arm she went with him from the home where she had lived but two short years, and those the saddest, most eventful ones of her short life.
MARK AND HELEN.
There was much talk and wonder in Silverton when it was known that Katy had come home to stay until her husband returned from the war, and at first the people were inclined to gossip and hint at some mystery or possible estrangement; but this was brought to an end when the postmaster’s wife told of a letter which had come to Mrs. Wilford Cameron from the Army of the Potomac, and of the answer returned within three days to Lieutenant Wilford Cameron, Co., —th Regt., N. Y. V., etc. It must be all right, the gossips said, after that, but they watched Katy curiously as she came among them again, so quiet, so subdued, so unlike the Katy of old that they would hardly have recognized her but for the beauty of her face and the sunny smile she gave to all, but which rested oftenest on the poor and suffering, who blessed her as the angel of their humble homes, praying that God would remember her for all she was to them. The gold was purified at last, the dross removed, and Katy, in her beautiful consistent life, seemed indeed like some bright angel straying among the haunts of men, rather than the weak and ofttimes sorely tempted mortal, which she knew herself to be.