“Excuse me, madam,” he began, but whatever she might have said was lost in the low, thrilling scream of joy with which Anna recognized him.
“Charlie, Charlie! oh, Charlie!” she cried, burying her face in his bosom and sobbing like a child.
There was no time to waste in explanations; scarcely time, indeed, for Charlie to ask where she was going, and if the necessity to go on were imperative.
“You won’t leave me,” Anna whispered.
“Leave you, darling? No,” and pressing the little fingers twining so lovingly about his own, Charlie replied: “Whither thou goest I will go. I shall not leave you again.”
He needed no words to tell him of the letters never received; he knew the truth, and satisfied to have her at last he drew her closely to him, and laying her tired head upon his bosom, gazed fondly at the face he had not seen in many, many years. Curious, tittering maidens, of whom there are usually one or two in every car, looked at that couple near the door and whispered to their companions:
“Bride and groom. Just see how he hugs her. Some widower, I know, married to a young wife.”
But neither Charlie nor Anna cared for the speculations to which they were giving rise. They had found each other, and the happiness enjoyed during the two hours which elapsed ere Buffalo was reached more than made amends for all the lonely years of wretchedness they had spent apart from each other. Charlie had told Anna briefly of his life in India—had spoken feelingly, affectionately of his gentle Hattie, who had died, blessing him with her last breath for the kindness he had ever shown to her; of baby Annie’s grave, by the side of which he buried the young mother; of his loneliness after that, his failing health, his yearning for a sight of home, his embarkation for America, his hope through all that she might still be won; his letters and her mother’s reply, which awakened his suspicions, and his last letter which she received.
Sweetly she chided him, amid her tears, for not coming to her at once, telling how she had waited and watched with an anxious heart, ever since she heard of his return; and then she told him next where she was going, and why, sparing her brother as much as possible, and dwelling long upon poor Lily’s gentleness and beauty.