I can write no more. God be with and comfort you, my own, own love.
That was all. The pen dropped from the nerveless grasp. Clemence bent her head wearily on the table, and fell into a trance-like slumber.
The night waned. The dawn of the New Year found the pale sleeper with her golden head still pillowed on her arm, and the last words that the slender fingers would ever trace, waiting for the coming of one to break the spell of silence, that had hushed the pale-browed sleeper into everlasting rest.
“Dead! dead! dead!” moaned Ulrica Hardyng, bending in agony over the lifeless form, and looking vainly for some answering gleam of recognition in the blue eyes, that had ever beamed upon her with glances of love and sympathy.
And this was the end of all these months of working and waiting, which was to be crowned with a glorious fruition that had filled all hearts with joyous anticipation.
But there was no time for idle sorrow. A little white-robed figure, with great wild eyes, and tangled curls falling over dimpled shoulders, stole into the room, and flung herself at the feet of the still figure, that drooped now in the woman’s arms; and then a cry rang through the house, so fraught with anguish, that people hurrying by, in the early morning light, stood with startled faces, and questioned as to its cause, then reverently entered the house of woe.
Below, in the little parlor of the cottage, they laid all that was mortal of Clemence Graystone, and there, he who had hastened to meet the loved one, passed the long hours of that New Year’s day alone with his dead.
Grief, like joy, should be sacred from stranger eyes, and we will not linger over the scene, but glide softly from the place that has been made desolate by the dread presence of the destroyer.
They buried the young teacher by the side of the child she had loved in life, and whose sad dream was thus fulfilled. The people whom she had come among, only to be slighted, and more than that, persecuted with malignant energy, united at her death in awarding the meed of praise they had denied her in life. It mattered little, though, to one who had left the cares and trials of earth behind, what remorseful tears were shed over her mortal remains. It was all over now, and the troubled heart had found peace, and that pure joy which “floweth like a river.”
In the little cemetery at Waveland there is one carefully-tended spot, that is the shrine at which a little group of sable-clad mourners meet, to mingle their tears and prayers together. Two of them are elderly women, who greet each other as “Alicia” and “Ulrica,” and the others, a grave-faced man, leading by the hand a young, delicate-looking girl, are Ruth, and her guardian, Wilfred Vaughn.