But with few exceptions Helen declined the latter, feeling that, circumstanced as she was, with her husband in so much danger, it was better not to mingle much in gay society. She was very happy with Mrs. Banker, who petted and caressed and loved her almost as much as if she had been an own daughter. Mark’s letters, too, which came nearly every day, were bright sun spots in her existence, so full were they of tender love and kind thoughtfulness for her. He was very happy, he wrote, in knowing that at home there was a dear little brown-haired wife, waiting and praying for him, and but for the separation from her was well content now with a soldier’s life. Once when he was stationed for a longer time than usual at some point Helen thought seriously of going to him for a week or more, but the project was prevented by the sudden arrival in New York of Katy, who came one night to Mrs. Banker’s, her face as white as ashes, and a strange, wild expression in her eyes as she said to Helen:
“I am going to Wilford. He is dying. He has sent for me. I ought to go on to-night, but cannot, my head aches so,” and pressing both her hands upon her head Katy sank fainting into Helen’s arms.
“GEORGETOWN, February —, 1862.
“MRS. WILFORD CAMERON:
“Your husband cannot live long. Come immediately.
So read the telegram received by Katy one winter morning, when her eyes were swollen with weeping over Morris’ letter, which had come the previous night, telling her how circumstances which seemed providential had led him to the hospital where her husband was, and where, too, was Marian Hazelton.
“I did not think it advisable to visit your husband at first,” he wrote, “while Miss Hazelton, who had recently been transferred to this hospital, also kept out of the way. Nor was it necessary that either of us should minister to him there, for he was not thought very ill. ’Only a slight touch of rheumatism, and a low, nervous fever,’ said the attending physician, of whom I inquired. Latterly, however, the fever has increased to a fearful extent, seating itself upon the brain, so that he knows neither myself nor Miss Hazelton, both of whom are with him. She, because she would be here where she heard of danger, and I because his case was given into my charge. So I am with him now, writing by his side, while he lies sleeping quietly, and Miss Hazelton bends over him, bathing his burning head. He does not know her, but he talks of Katy, who he says is dead and buried across the sea. Will you come to him, Katy? Your presence may save his life. Telegraph when you leave New York, and I will meet you at the depot.”