“Of what has happened since you know—except, indeed, how hard it was sometimes for poor, weak human nature to see you as happy as you were at first, and then contrast my lot with yours. I loved your baby almost as much as if it had been my own, and when it died there was nothing to bind me to the North, and so I came here, where I hope I have done some good; at least, I was here to care for Wilford, and that is a sufficient reward for all the toil which falls to the lot of a hospital nurse. I shall stay until the war is ended, and then go I know not where. It will not be best for us to meet very often, for though we may and do respect each other, neither can forget the past, or that one was the lawful, the other the divorced, wife of the same man. I have loved you, Katy Cameron, for your uniform kindness shown to the poor dressmaker. I shall always love you, but our paths lie widely apart. Your future I can predict, but mine God only knows.”
Marian had said all she meant to say, and all Katy came to hear. The latter was to leave in the morning, and when they would meet again neither could tell. Few were the parting words they spoke, for the great common sorrow welling up from their hearts; but when at last they said good-by, the bond of friendship between them was more strongly cemented than ever, and Katy long remembered Marian’s parting words:
“God bless you, Katy Cameron! You have been a bright sun spot in my existence since I first knew you, even though you have stirred some of the worst impulses of my nature. I am a better woman for having known you. God bless you, Katy Cameron!”
The grand funeral which Mrs. Cameron once had planned for Katy was a reality at last, but the breathless form lying so cold and still in the darkened rooms at No. —— Fifth Avenue was not Katy’s, but that of a soldier embalmed—an only son brought back to his father’s house amid sadness and tears. They had taken him there rather than to his own house, because it was the wish of his mother, who, however hard and selfish she might be to others, had loved and idolized her son, mourning for him truly, and forgetting in her grief to care how grand the funeral was, and feeling only a passing twinge when told that Mrs. Lennox had come from Silverton to pay the last tribute of respect to her late son-in-law. Some little comfort it was to have her boy lauded as a faithful soldier and to hear the commendations lavished upon him during the time he lay in state, with his uniform around him; but when the whole was over, and in the gray of the wintry afternoon her husband returned from burying his son, there came over her a feeling of such desolation as she had never known—a feeling which drove her at last to the little room upstairs, where sat a lonely man, his head bowed upon his hands, and his tears dropping silently upon the hearthstone as he, too, thought of the vacant parlor below and the new-made grave at Greenwood.