Richard was completely crushed, and without noticing any one he sat hour after hour, day after day, night after night, always in one place, near the head of the bed, his hands folded submissively together, and his sightless eyes fixed upon the pillow, where he knew Edith was, with a hopeless, subdued expression touching to witness. He did not weep, but his dry, red eyes, fastened always upon the same point, told of sealed fountains where the hot tears were constantly welling up, and failing to find egress without, fell upon the bruised heart, which blistered and burned beneath their touch, but felt no relief. It was in vain they tried to persuade him to leave the room; he turned a deaf ear to their entreaties, and the physician was beginning to fear for his reason, when crazy Nina came to his aid, and laying her moist hand upon his said to him, not imploringly, but commandingly, “Come with me.”
There was a moment’s hesitation, and then Richard followed her out into the open air, sitting where she bade him sit, and offering no resistance when she perched herself upon his knee and passed her arm around his neck.
“Make him cry, can’t you? That will do him good,” whispered Victor, who had come out with them.
Nina knew that better than himself. She remembered the time when the sight of Edith had wrung from her torrents of tears, cooling her burning brow, and proving a blessed relief, the good effects of which were visible yet. And now it was her task to make the blind man cry. She recognized something familiar in the hard, stony expression of his face, something which brought back the Asylum, with all its dreaded horrors. She had seen strong men there look just as he was looking. Dr. Griswold had called them crazy, and knowing well what that word implied she would save Richard from so sad a fate.
“It will be lonesome for you when Miggie’s gone,” she said, as a prelude, to the attempt; “lonesomer than it has ever been before; and the nights will be so dark, for when the morning comes there’ll be no Miggie here. She will look sweetly in her coffin, but you can’t see her, can you? You can feel how beautiful she is, perhaps; and I shall braid her hair just as she used to wear it.”