Poor Densie! Eagerly she waited for the close of that long sleep, her eye the first to note that it was ended, and ’Lina awake again. Still the silence remained unbroken, while ’Lina seemed lost to all else save the thoughts burning at her breast—thoughts which brought a quiver to her lips, and forced out upon her brow great drops of sweat, which Densie wiped away, unnoticed, it may be, or at least unrebuked. The noonday sun of May was shining broadly into the room, but to ’Lina it was night, and she said to Alice, now kneeling at her side: “It’s growing dark; they’ll light the street lamps pretty soon, and the band will play in the yard, but I shall not hear them. New York and Saratoga are a great ways off, and so is Terrace Hill. Tell him I meant to deceive him, but I did love him. Tell Adah I do forgive her, and I would like to see her, for she is my half-sister. The bitter is all gone. I am in charity with everybody, everybody. May I say ‘Our Father’ now? It goes and comes, goes and comes, forgive our trespasses, my trespasses; how is it, Hugh? Say it with me once, and you, too, mother.”
She did not look toward Densie, but her hand fell off that way, and Densie, with a low cry began with Hugh the soothing prayer in which ’Lina joined feebly, throwing in ejaculatory sentences of her own.
“I forgive Densie Densmore; I forgive Adah, Adah, everybody. Forgive my trespasses then as I forgive those that trespass against me. Bless Hugh, dear Hugh, noble Hugh. Forgive us our trespasses, forgive us our trespasses, our trespasses, forgive my trespasses, me, forgive, forgive.”
It was the last word which ever passed ’Lina’s lips, “Forgive, forgive,” and Hugh, with his ear close to the lips, heard the faint murmur even after the hands had fallen from his neck where in the last struggle they had been clasped, and after the look which comes but once to all had settled on her face. That was the last of ’Lina, with that cry for pardon she passed away, and though it was but a deathbed repentance, and she, the departed, had much need for pardon, Alice and the half-acknowledged mother clung to it as to a ray of hope, knowing how tender and full of compassion was the blessed Savior, even to those who turn not to Him until the river of death is bearing them away. Very gently Hugh laid the dead girl back upon the pillow, and leaving one kiss on her white forehead, hurried away to his own room, where, unseen to mortal eye, he could ask for knowledge to give himself aright to the God who had come so near to them.
There were no noisy outbursts among the negroes when told their young mistress was dead, for ’Lina had not been greatly loved. The sight of Alice’s swollen eyes and tear-stained face affected Mug, it is true, but even she could not cry until she had coaxed old Uncle Sam to repeat to her, for the twentieth time, the story of Bethlehem’s little children slain, by order of the cruel Herod. This story, told in old Sam’s peculiar way, had the desired effect, and the tears which refused to start even at the sight of ’Lina dead, flowed freely for the little ones over whom Rachel wept, refusing to be comforted.