All of a sudden it come to me who the girl looked like: it wuz Isabelle.
As she stood in front of it, in her long white dress, with her white hands clasped loose in front of her, and her auburn hair pushed back careless from her beautiful face, I see the girl in the picture, or as she would be if she had grown refined and beautiful by sorrow and a sweet patience and reasonableness, which is the twin of Patience, both on ’em the children of Pain.
As I stood there a-lookin’ at her in admiration and surprise, I heard a sound behind me. It wuzn’t a cry nor a sithe, but it wuz sunthin’ different from both, more eager like, and deadly earnest, and dumbfoundered.
And then it wuz Mr, Freeman’s voice I knew that said—
“My God! am I a-dreamin’?”
And then Isabelle turned, and her face filled with a rapturous surprise and joy, and everything.
And sez she—
And he jest rushed forward, and in a secent had her in his arms. And I bust out a-cryin’, and turned my back to ’em, and went out.
But it wuzn’t more than a few minutes before they rapped at my door, and their faces looked like the faces of two angels who have left the sorrows of earth and got into Heaven at last.
And I cried agin, and Isabelle cried as I held her in my arms silently, and kissed her a dozen times, and I presoom more.
And Mr. Freeman kissed me on my left cheek, and wrung my hand that hard that that right hand ached hard more’n a hour and a half. And I bathed it in arneky and water long enough after Isabelle had gone to her room, and Mr. Freeman to hisen.
For till this mortal has put on immortality folks have to eat and sleep, and if their hands are wrung half off, either through happiness or anger, flesh, while it is corruptible, will ache, and bones will cry out if most crushed down.
But arneky relieved the pain, and the light of the mornin’ showed the faces of these reunited lovers, full of such a radiant bliss that it did one’s soul good even to look at ’em.
It seems that Isabelle had told him in that long-ago time when they parted that she wouldn’t keep up a correspondence with him. She felt that she had ort to leave him free. And he wuz poor, and he would not fetter her with a memory she might perhaps better forgit. Poor things! lovin’ and half broken-hearted, and both hampered with duties, and both good as gold.
So they parted, she to take care of her feeble parents, and he to take care of his invalid mother and the two little ones.
But lo and behold! after they had lived in that Western city for a few years, Tom a-workin’ hard as he could to keep the wolf from the door, and from devourin’ the three helpless ones, his brother returned from California as rich as a Jew, and he took his two little girls back with him and put ’em in school, and give Tom the money to start in business, and he wuz fortunate beyend any tellin’—got independent rich; then his ma wuz took sick and died, he a-waitin’ on her devoted to the very last.