“Then you’ll—marry me?”
“I—hoped you would, so—I arranged—minister’s waiting now. Will you—ring?” And he motioned feebly toward an electric bell-push that stood upon a small table beside the bed.
And now once again as one in a dream she obeyed, and was presently aware of soft-treading figures about her in the dim chamber—among them the Old Un whose shoes for once creaked not at all. As one in a dream she made the responses, felt the feeble clasp of that hand whose strength and masterful power had thrilled her, heard the faint echo of that loved voice that had wooed her so passionately once, yet wooed in vain, while now—
She was alone again, alone with him who lay so very still and pale with eyes closed wearily; from him she glanced to that which gleamed so bright and new upon her finger and bending her head she pressed the wedding ring to her lips.
“Wife!” he whispered; the weary eyes were open, and his look drew her. So she knelt beside the bed again, stooping above him low and lower until her head lay beside his upon the pillow. Slowly, slowly his feeble hand crept up to her glowing cheek, to the soft waves of her hair, and to the little curl that wantoned above her eyebrow.
Tenderly her arms enfolded him, and with a soft little cry that was half a sob she kissed him, his brow, his hair, his lips, kissed him even while she wetted him with her falling tears.
“Beloved,” he murmured, “my glorious—scrubwoman—if I must—leave you—these dear hands need never—never slave again. Never—any—more, my Hermione.”
Long after he had fallen to sleep she knelt there, cradling his weakness in her arms, looking down on him with eyes bright with love.
After this were days and nights when the soul of him wandered in dark places filled with chaotic dreams and wild fancies; but there was ever one beside him whose gentle voice reached him in the darkness, and whose tender hand hushed his delirium and soothed his woes and troubles.
HOW GEOFFREY RAVENSLEE CAME OUT OF THE DARK
She was knitting; and opening sleepy eyes he watched drowsily and wondered what it might be and was minded to enquire, but sighed instead and fell asleep again.
She was knitting; knitting something in red wool, and opening his eyes again, he lay watching awhile and pondered dreamily as to what it could be she wrought at so busily, for the wool was so very red and so extremely woolly.
Her chin was set at an angle somewhat grim, she was sitting very upright in her chair and, though scrupulously hidden from sight, her elbows—truly how portentous were the undisguisable points of those elbows! And she was knitting fiercely in wool that was remarkably red and woolly.