Richard and Edith.
On Richard’s darkened pathway, there was now a glimmer of daylight, shed by Edith Hastings’ visit, and with a vague hope that she might come again, he on the morrow groped his way to the summer house, and taking the seat where he sat the previous day, he waited and listened for the footstep on the grass which should tell him she was near. Nor did he wait long ere Edith came tripping down the walk, bringing the bouquet which Grace had prepared with so much care.
“Hist!” dropped involuntarily from her lips, when she descried him, sitting just where she had, without knowing why, expected she should find him, and her footfall so light that none save the blind could have detected it.
To Richard there was something half amusing, half ridiculous in the conduct of the capricious child, and for the sake of knowing what she would do, he professed to be ignorant of her presence, and leaning back against the lattice, pretended to be asleep, while Edith came so near that he could hear her low breathing as she stood still to watch him. Nothing could please her more than his present attitude, for with his large bright eyes shut she dared to look at him as much and as long she chose. He was to her now a kind of divinity, which she worshipped for the sake of the Swedish baby rescued from a watery grave, and she longed to wind her arms around his neck and tell him how she loved him for that act; but she dared not, and she contented herself with whispering softly, “If I wasn’t so spunky and ugly, I’d pray every night that God would make you see again. Poor blind man.”
It would be impossible to describe the deep pathos of Edith’s voice as she uttered the last three words. Love, admiration, compassion and pity, all were blended in the tone, and it is not strange that it touched an answering chord in the heart of the “poor blind man.” Slowly the broad chest heaved, and tears, the first he had shed since the fearful morning when they led him into the sunlight he felt but could not see, moistened his lashes, and dropped upon his face.
“He’s dreaming a bad dream,” Edith said, and with her little chubby hand she brushed his tears away, cautiously, lest she should rouse him from his slumbers.
Softly she put back from the white forehead his glossy hair, taking her own round comb to subdue an obdurate look, while he was sure that the fingers made more than one pilgrimage to the lips as the little barber found moisture necessary to her task.
“There, Mr. Blindman, you look real nice,” she said, with an immense amount of satisfaction, as she stepped back, the better to inspect the whole effect. “I’ll bet you’ll wonder who’s been here when you wake up, but I shan’t tell you now. Maybe, though, I’ll come again to-morrow,” and placing the bouquet in his hands, she ran away.
Pausing for a moment, and looking back, she saw Richard again raise to his lips her bouquet, and with a palpitating heart, as she thought, “what if he wern’t asleep after all!” she ran on until Brier Hill was reached.