Was not her name a prophecy?
At the sill of the Magan homestead the flood had stopped, hesitated, and then gone back. Maggie always said she knew it would—they always had good luck. The little woman was happier than ever when she thought of the whole train of people that might have been thrown into the ditch—of the cut-off legs, arms and heads, and the poor creatures without them that might have been cast bleeding on the track, if it had not been for her faithful old Tim—and of the home with niver a baby, and of the darlint that would have been drowned in the bottom of the Ohio with her ears and eyes full of mud, if it had not been for her slip of a boy.
As for Connor, he felt as if that bright-eyed girl belonged to him, and now that he had a watch towards it, he seemed almost a ready-made Conductor.
When the waters subsided and he went back to school, he studied with a will. His percentage grew higher.
“Sometime,” he said to himself, “I will go to Palestine. I will be somebody—maybe a Conductor! And a beautiful young woman with soft black eyes will wave her handkerchief to me as I pass by in my train! And after I make a lot of money”—how full the world is of money that young people are so sure of getting—“after I make this money I will bring Minnie back with me! And she will live in my house with me! And she will say, ’Conor I am so glad you fished me out of the Ohio with your drift-wood!’ And won’t that be good luck for Connor Magan!”
Mammy Delphy was sitting out under the vines that climbed over the kitchen gallery, picking a chicken for dinner, and singing. And such singing! Some of the words ran this way:
“Aldo you sees me go ’long
I has my trials here below,
Sometimes I’se up, sometimes I’se down,
Sometimes I’se lebel wid de groun;
Oh, git out, Satan
And these words sound queer to you as you read them, perhaps, but they did not sound queer when Mammy Delphy was singing them. I don’t believe that a song out of heaven could be sweeter than this and other songs like it that dear old Mammy sings, with her turbaned head bobbing up and down and her foot softly keeping time to the melody. There is a sort of plaintive—what shall I call it?—twist in her voice that makes you choke up about the throat, if you are a boy, and sob right out if you are a girl. And it makes you, somehow, remember, in hearing it, all the sweet, sad little stories that your mother has told you about your little baby sister who died before you were born; or, if you have stood in a darkened room, holding fast to some tender and loving hand, and looked at a face that was dear to you lying upon its coffin pillow, you think of that strange and sad time. And with these thoughts come, as you listen, other thoughts of flying angels and shining crowns, and wide-opened gates of pearl. A sweetness mixed with pain—that is, the feeling which Mammy Delphy’s singing brings to you, though you could not describe it, perhaps, if you tried—at least that’s the feeling it brings to me.