She closed her eyes, and looked serenely happy, but I was weeping bitterly, and Louis’ eyes swam in tears, as he said:
“Little mother, wait still longer, we cannot let you go.”
“Oh! Louis, my dear boy, it is not now, it may be just a few years yet, but it is sure to come—and I love to talk with you of this change. It is natural for us to pass into the next room. If I go I must say all the things I need to first.”
Aunt Hildy and mother entered, and we talked again of our new friend Mary. When God touched me that night with his magic wand, I dreamed of fairies, and saw wondrous changes at their hands, earth and heaven strangely mingling.
I like to drift with the days, and scan them one by one, but as I recall all that I have written, I say to myself: “Emily must take some long step now, else the tale of her life will never be told, even though the changes came day by day, falling drop by drop into the lap of the waiting years.”
Mother was feeling better, and when the rose-covered days of June came over us our hearts were singing. Clara seemed well (for her) and I forebore to grieve over her prophecy of leaving us, though for a few days after she had said those words, an icy feeling crept over me as I thought on what they foreboded. I could not see how we could bear to lose her presence; life without her would be an empty vial, not only for us, but for all. We loved her devotedly. In this beautiful June I felt younger than ever before, and believed that the constant saying to myself, “I will do right,” was brightening all the world for me.
I was twenty-one years old the previous March, and it seemed to me I looked much younger than when two years ago we saw for the first time the face of our Clara Desmonde. March was a sort of wild month to find one’s birthday in, and I never think of it without recalling the saying of one who had seen hard work and sorrow as well. It was a lady I met once at Aunt Phebe’s, who came to bring a book for her to read, and in the course of conversation she said:
“Mrs. Hungerford, I was born in March, and have come to the delightful conclusion that all who dare to be born in this month must fight the beasts at Ephesus.”
This year I had certainly fought Mr. Benton, and perhaps I should find another experience in the next March month that came.
Ben was seventeen years old in January, and this was a great year for him; he had sought and obtained father’s consent to manage a farm for himself. Hal could not, of course, till the land he owned, and Ben had made arrangements to do it. He wanted the entire care, and Hal told him to go right ahead the same as if he owned it all and see what he could do. This was quite a step, and, as it proved, a successful one. He was at home in his old room at night, but ate at Hal’s table, and Mary said he was so good they could never keep house without him. I rejoiced that he could fill a position for which he was fitted, albeit father and Hal were both disappointed that he could not have book knowledge enough to place him in some position in public life.