“I’ll soon be
at home, over there,
For the end of my journey I see,
Many dear to my heart over there
Are watching and waiting for me,
Over there, over there,
I’ll soon be at home over there.”
sang Huldah, softly. The flame died down, and left the room very dim, but still the three sat on, silent, thoughtful. Miss Rose sat between them, holding a hand of each.
“I expect ’twas Him as led me back to Huldah,” said the weak voice, presently.
“Yes, dear. He was bringing you together, that all might be made happy between you.”
“I am very glad He did. ’Twas more’n I deserved—after the way I’d treated one of His.”
Huldah threw herself across the bed, her arms thrown round the dying woman. “Aunt Emma—Aunt Emma, don’t! That’s all forgotten. I deserved what I got. It’s all over now; don’t let’s remember it any more!”
“Will you tell—Him you’ve forgiven me?”
“Yes, oh yes; but He knows, there’s no need to tell Him. He knows we love each other now,—oh, Aunt Emma, if you can only get well, how happy we shall be!”
Miss Rose got up and stirred the fire to a blaze again. Her heart was glad, yet sad. Glad that this poor soul was coming to her Father, but at the same time sad, for she knew how little hope there was of Huldah’s wish coming to pass. It was sweet, though, to the dying woman to hear the wish from the child she had ill-treated and neglected so long, and she clasped her to her in a paroxysm of love.
For a moment they lay thus, then Miss Rose put a handful of wood on the fire, and made the blaze grow bright and brisk.
“I am not going to talk any more now,” she said, cheerily, “or let you talk, Emma, or I shall have a scolding from the doctor, but I am going to ask you and Huldah to give me a cup of tea, here in the firelight. Then, after that, I am going to tell you a little piece of news.”
The bed was wheeled up to the fireplace, the tea table and two chairs were grouped about the hearth, and there they had their last meal together in happy peacefulness.
A sense of quiet rested on them all, a shade of awe, of feelings so deep that ordinary chatter would have seemed out of place. Emma Smith’s thoughts were still lingering about that figure standing outside the door, “Knocking, knocking.” She must have seen a picture once of that figure with the patient, tender eyes, knocking at a fast-closed door, but she had never troubled to ask who it was. Now it all seemed close, He was so real. It was ordinary, everyday life that seemed unreal now, that began to seem to her so far away.
Huldah was drawing bright pictures in her mind of days when the spring would come, and Aunt Emma would be stronger and able to walk about; they would be able to go and see Aunt Martha sometimes. Her thoughts dwelt lovingly on Aunt Martha and Dick. She saw them seldom now, the storms and the rough roads kept Aunt Martha at home, and Huldah could not leave her Aunt Emma.