There was nothing cringing or even pleading in the tone. Adah seemed to ask it as her right, and ere Anna could answer she had pressed one burning kiss upon the smooth, white forehead which a menial’s lips had never touched before, and was gone from the room.
“Was she crazy, or what was it that ailed her?” Anna asked herself, wondering more and more, the more she thought of the strange conduct, and lying awake long after the usual hour for sleep.
But wakeful as she was, there was one who kept the vigils with her, knowing exactly when she fell away at last into a slumber all the deeper for the restlessness which had preceded it. Anna slept very soundly as Adah knew she would, and when toward morning a light footstep glided across her threshold she did not hear it. The bolt was drawn, the key was turned, and just as the clock struck three, Adah stood outside the yard, leaning on the gate and gazing back at the huge building looming up so dark and grand beneath the starry sky. One more prayer for Willie and the mother-auntie to whose care she had left him, one more straining glance at the window of the little room where he lay sleeping, and she resolutely turned away, nor stopped again until the Danville depot was reached the station where in less than five minutes after her arrival the night express stood for an instant, and then went thundering on, bearing with it another passenger, bound for—she knew not, cared not whither.
They were not early risers at Terrace Hill, and the morning following Adah’s flight Anna slept later than usual; nor was it until Willie’s baby cry, calling for mamma, was heard, that she awoke, and thinking Adah had gone down for something, she bade Willie come to her. Putting out her arms she lifted him carefully into her own bed, and in doing so brushed from her pillow the letters left for her. But it did not matter then, and for a full half hour she lay waiting for Adah’s return. Growing impatient at last, she stepped upon the floor, her bare feet touching something cold, something which made her look down and find that she was stepping on a letter—not one, but two—and in wondering surprise she turned them to the light, half fainting with excitement, when on the back of the first one examined she saw the old familiar handwriting, and knew that Charlie had written again!
Anna had hardly been human had she waited an instant ere she tore open the envelope and learned how many times and with how little success Charlie Millbrook had written to her since his return from India. He had not forgotten her. The love of his early manhood had increased with his maturer years, and he could not be satisfied until he heard from her that he was remembered and still beloved.
This was Charlie’s letter, this what Anna read, feeling far too happy to be angry at her mother, and delicious tears of joy flowed over her beautiful face, as, pressing the paper to her lips, she murmured: