“What is it?” Alice said, bending over him.
“Are you the Golden Haired?” he asked again, as her curls swept his face.
“Who is Golden Hair?” Alice asked, and instantly the great tears gathered in Hugh’s dark eyes as he replied:
“Don’t say who is she, but who was she. I’ve never told a living being before. Golden Hair was a bright angel who crossed my path one day, and then disappeared forever, leaving behind the sweetest memory a mortal man ever possessed. She’s dead, Chestnut Locks,” and he twined one of Alice’s curls around his finger. “It’s weak for men to cry, but I have cried many a night for her, when the clouds were crying, too, and I heard against my window the rain which I knew was falling upon her little grave.”
He was growing rather excited, and thinking he had talked too much, Alice was trying to quiet him, when the door opened softly and Adah herself came in. Bowing politely to Alice she advanced to Hugh’s bedside, and bending over him spoke his name. He knew her, and turning to Alice said: “This is Adah; you will like each other; you are much alike.”
For an instant the two young girls gazed at each other as if trying to account for the familiar look each saw in the other’s face. Adah was the first to remember, and when at last Hugh was asleep she unclasped from her neck the slender chain she had worn so long, and passing the locket to Alice, asked if she ever saw it before.
“Yes, oh, yes, it’s I, it’s mine, though not a very natural one. I never knew where I lost it. Where did you find it?” and opening the other side Alice looked to see if the lock of hair was safe.
Adah explained how it came into her possession, asking if Alice remembered the circumstances.
“Yes, and I thought of you so often, never dreaming that we should meet here as we have. You were so sick then, and I pitied you so much. Your husband was gone, you said. Was it long ere he came back?”
“He never came back,” and the great brown eyes filled with tears.
“Never came? Do you think him dead?”
“No, no! oh, no! He’s—Oh, Miss Johnson, I’ll tell you some time. Nobody here knows but Hugh how I was deceived, but I’ll tell you. I can trust you,” and Adah involuntarily laid her head in Alice’s lap, sobbing bitterly.
In the hall without there was a shuffling step which Adah knew was Sam’s, and remembering the conversation once held with him concerning that golden locket, whose original Sam was positive he had seen, Alice waited curious for his entrance. With hobbling steps the old man came in, scarcely noticing either of them, so intent was he upon the figure lying so still and helpless before him.
“Massah Hugh, my poor, dear Massah Hugh,” he cried, bending over his young master. “I wish ‘twas Sam had all de pain an’ all de aches you feels. I’d b’ar it willingly, massah, I would. Dear massah, kin you hear Sam talkin’ to you?”