“And they did sometimes, Louis,” I said, for I wanted the whole truth to be made plain, while I felt his glittering eyes fastened on me, “but not long. When I was alone, I saw your face and longed to hear again the words you had said to me. We are both young, Louis, and I feared you did not love me as you thought. I had no right to defend myself against Mr. Benton’s attacks by using your name with my own. And when the year was past, then I still felt no right, and further,” I added slowly, “to me my love was a sacred picture I could not ask him to look at.”
“My Emily forever,” said Louis, folding me closely to him. “Your fears were groundless as to the changing of my love for you, but, as you say, the picture was not for his eyes. Your suffering causes me sorrow, but let us hope it has not been in vain.”
“It is all right, Louis, now, and I have said to myself, let ’Emily will do it’ be the words hereafter, for ‘Emily did it’ has passed, and with this lesson, too, I hope, the second sin of omission, which in my heart I characterize as ‘Emily did not do it.’ And now your little mother’s words lie just before me, reaching a long way through the years, ’Emily will do it.’”
“Amen,” said a sweet voice, which was Clara’s. “Emily has begun, and when she goes to see the little lamb here are some things to take.”
“Do you want to see her, little mother?”
“Not now, Louis; I cannot now look upon her sorrow. By-and-by,” and over her face came a shining mist, and through sweet sympathy’s pure tears her eyes looked earnestly, but she did not tell us of what she was thinking.
I think we must all have dreamed of the lovely face over among the pillows in Mr. Goodwin’s west room, for we were hardly seated at the breakfast table ere Ben said:
“Wonder how that pretty girl is this morning?”
“She was better when we left last night,” said mother, “I thought she appeared as if ready for a comfortable night; but shall hear soon if she is better, Aunt Hildy will be home, and if not, Matthias will be over.”
“Wish I could see her—will she go right away?”
“That I do not know,” said mother, “we have yet to learn her history. Mrs. Goodwin wanted Matthias to come over to-day, for after you left, Emily, she called for ‘Peter, colored Peter,’ looking as if expecting to find him. Matthias came into the room and brought some wood, while she was awake, and when she saw him, she said, ’Oh, Peter! stay till I get rested—I want to tell you.’ He dropped his wood heavily, it gave him such a start. He says no one ever called him that except some young people down in Carolina, and it seems he named himself Peter, to their great amusement, telling them that he ’cakilated to treat his old Mas’r just as Peter treated de good Jesus.’”
“Why, can it be possible he knows her?” I said.