At a glance Adah had read the name upon the card, knowing now who had befriended her. It was Irving Stanley, Augusta’s brother, second cousin to Hugh, and ’Lina was with his sister in New York. He was going there, he might speak of her, and if she told her name, her miserable story would be known to more than it was already. It was a false pride which kept Adah silent when she knew that Irving Stanley was waiting for her to speak, wondering at her agitated manner. He was looking at her eyes, her large brown eyes, which dared not meet his, and as he looked a terrible suspicion crept over him. Involuntarily he felt for her third finger. It was ringless, and he dropped it suddenly, but with a feeling that he might be unjust, that all were not of his church and creed, he took it again, and said his parting words. Then, turning to Willie, he smoothed the silken curls, praised the beauty of the sleeping child, and left the room.
Adah knew that he was gone, that she should not see him again, and that, at the very last, there had arisen some misunderstanding, she hardly knew what, for the shock of finding who he was had prevented her from fully comprehending the fact that he had asked her for her husband. She never dreamed of the suspicion which, for an instant, had a lodgment in his breast, or she would almost have died where she stood, gazing at the door through which he had disappeared.
“I ought to have told him my name, but I could not,” she sighed, as the sound of his rapid footsteps died upon the stairs.
They ceased at last, and with a feeling of utter desolation, as if she were now indeed alone, Adah sank upon her knees, and covering her face with her hands, wept bitterly. Anon, however, holier, calmer feelings swept over her. She was not alone. They who love God can never be alone, however black the darkness be around them. And Adah did love Him, thanking Him at last for raising her up this friend in her sore need, for putting it into Irving Stanley’s heart to care for her, a stranger, as he had done. And as she prayed, the wish arose that George had been, more like him. He would not then have deserted her, she sobbed, while again her lips breathed a prayer for Irving Stanley, thoughts of whom even then made her once broken heart beat as she had never expected it to beat again.
So absorbed was Adah that she did not hear the returning footsteps as Irving came across the hall. He had remembered some directions he would give her, and at the risk of being left, had come back a moment. She did not hear the turning of the knob, the opening of the door, or know that he for whom she prayed was standing so near to her that he heard distinctly what she said, kneeling there by the chair where he had sat, her fair head bent down and her face concealed from view.
“God in heaven bless and keep the noble Irving Stanley.”
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