“We talked of you, Arthur, and of Richard,” Nina said. “Miggie has promised to many him! Did you know it?”
“Yes, I know it,” was Arthur’s reply; “and there is no person in the world to whom I would sooner give her than to Richard, for I know he will leave nothing undone to make her happy.”
There was no tremor in Arthur’s voice, and Nina little guessed how much it cost him thus to speak, with Edith sitting near. Looking up into his face with a startled, perplexed expression, she said, “I did not expect this, Arthur boy. I thought you loved Miggie.”
“Nina, please don’t,” and Edith spoke entreatingly, but Nina answered pettishly, “I ain’t going to please, for everything has got upside down. It’s all going wrong, and it won’t make a speck of difference, as I see, whether I die or not.”
“I think I’d try to live then,” Arthur said, laughingly, while Edith hailed the appearance of Marie as something which would put a restraint upon Nina.
It had been arranged that Edith should take Arthur’s place in the sick room that night, but Nina suddenly changed her mind, insisting that Arthur should sleep there as usual.
“There’s a heap of things I must tell you,” she whispered to him; “and my head is clearer when it’s darker and the candles are on the stand.”
So Edith retired to her own room, and after a time Arthur was alone with Nina. He was very tired, but at her request he sat down beside her, where she could look into his face and see, as she said, if he answered her for true. At first it was of herself she spoke—herself, as she used to be.
“I remember so well,” she said “when you called me your Florida rose, and asked for one of my curls. That was long ago, and there have been years of darkness since, but the clouds are breaking now—daylight is coming up, or rather Nina is going out, into the daylight, where there is no more buzzing, no more headache. Will I be crazy in Heaven, think?”
“No, darling, no,” and Arthur changed his seat from the chair to the bed, where he could be nearer to the little girl, who continued,