“I’ve surely dreamed of Sunnybank.”
“Berry likely, Miss,” answered Tom, thinking the remark addressed to him, inasmuch as Edith’s head protruded from the window. “Dreams is mighty onsartin. Git ’long, you Bill, none o’yer lazy carlicues, case don’t yer mind thar’s Mars’r Arthur on the v’randy, squinting to see if I’s fotched ’em,” and removing his old straw hat, Tom swung it three times around his head, that being the signal he was to give if Edith were in the carriage.
With an increased flush upon his brow, Arthur St. Claire hastened down, pausing at an inner room while he bent over and whispered to a young girl reclining on her pillow,
“Nina, darling, Miggie’s come.”
There was a low cry of unutterable delight, and Nina Bernard raised herself upon her elbow, looking wistfully toward the door through which Arthur had disappeared.
“Be quiet, la petite Nina,” said a short, thick woman, who sat by the bed, apparently officiating in the capacity of nurse; then, as the carriage stopped at the gate, she glided to the window, muttering to herself, “Charmant charmant, magnifique,” as she caught a full view of the eager, sparkling face, turned toward the young man hastening down the walk. Then, with that native politeness natural to her country, she moved away so as not to witness the interview.
That was all they said, for Richard and Nina stood between them, a powerful preventive to the expression of the great joy throbbing in the heart of each, as hand grasped hand, and eye sought eye, fearfully, tremblingly, lest too much should be betrayed.
“Miggie, Miggie, be quick,” came from the room where Nina was now standing up in bed, her white night dress hanging loosely about her forehead and neck.
It needed but this to break the spell which bound the two without, and dropping Edith’s hand, Arthur conducted her to the house, meeting in the hall with Nina, who, in spite of Mrs. Lamotte had jumped from her bed and skipping across the floor, flung herself into Edith’s arms, sobbing frantically,
“You did come, precious Miggie, to see sick Nina, didn’t you, and you’ll stay forever and ever, won’t you, my own sweet Miggie, and Arthur’s too? Oh, joy, joy, Nina’s so happy to-night.”
The voice grew very faint, the white lips ceased their pressure of kisses upon Edith’s—the golden head began to droop, and Arthur took the fainting girl in his arms, carrying her back to her bed, where he laid her gently down, himself caring for her until she began to revive.
Meanwhile Edith was introduced to Mrs. Lamotte, a French woman, who once was Nina’s nurse, and who had come to Sunnybank a few weeks before. Any one at all interested in Nina was sure of a place in Edith’s affections, and she readily took Mrs. Lamotte’s proffered hand, but she was not prepared for the peculiarly curious gaze fastened upon her, as Mrs. Lamotte waved off Teeny, the black girl, and taking her traveling bag and shawl, said to her,