She did not seem to hear him, but continued questioning Adah.
“Did you say bees? Were there many?”
“Oh, yes, so many, I remember, because they stung me once,” and Adah gazed dreamily into the fire, as if listening again to the musical hum heard in that New England home, wherever it might have been.
“Go on, what more can you recall?” Mrs. Worthington said, and Adah replied:
“Nothing but the waterfall in the river. I remember that near our door.”
During this conversation, Hugh had been standing by the table, where lay a few articles which he supposed belonged to Adah. One of these was a small double locket, attached to a slender chain.
“The rascal’s, I presume,” he said to himself, and taking it in his hand, he touched the spring, starting quickly as the features of a young-girl met his view. How radiantly beautiful the original of that picture must have been, and Hugh gazed long and earnestly upon the sweet young face, and its soft, silken curls, some shading the open brow, and others falling low upon the uncovered neck. Adah, lifting up her head, saw what he was doing, and said:
“Don’t you think her beautiful?”
“Who is she?” Hugh asked, coming to her side, and passing her the locket.
“I don’t know,” Adah replied. “She came to me one day when Willie was only two weeks old and my heart was so heavy with pain. She had heard I did plain sewing and wanted some for herself. She seemed to me like an angel, and I’ve sometimes thought she was, for she never came again. In stooping over me the chain must have been unclasped. I tried to find her when I got well, but my efforts were all in vain, and so I’ve kept it ever since. It was not stealing, was it?”
“Of course not,” Hugh said, while Adah, opening the other side, showed him a lock of dark brown hair, tied with a tiny ribbon, in which was written, “In memoriam, Aug. 18.”
As Hugh read the date his heart gave one great throb, for that was the summer, that the month when he lost the Golden Haired. Something, too, reminded him of the warm moonlight night, when the little snowy fingers, over which the fierce waters were soon to beat, had strayed through his heavy locks, which the girl had said were too long to be becoming, playfully severing them at random, and saying “she means to keep the fleece to fill a cushion with.”
“I wonder whose it is?” Adah said; “I’ve thought it might have been her mother’s.”
“Her lover’s more likely,” suggested Hugh, glancing once more at the picture, which certainly had in it a resemblance to the Golden Haired, save that the curls were darker, and the eyes a deeper blue.
“Will mas’r have de carriage? He say something ’bout it,” Caesar said, just then thrusting his woolly head in at the door, and thus reminding Hugh that Adah had yet to hear of Aunt Eunice and his plan of taking her thither.