Nina gazed wonderingly at him a moment, then made a motion that he should lay her back upon the pillow.
“Now put your head down here, right on my neck—so.”
He complied with her request, and placing both her bands upon the bowed head of the young man, Nina whispered,
“May the Good Shepherd, whose lamb Nina hopes to be, keep my Arthur boy, and bless him a hundred fold for all he’s been to me, and if he has wronged me, which I don’t believe, but if he has, will God please forgive him as fully, as freely as Nina does—the best Arthur boy that ever lived. I’ll tell God all about it, and how I pestered you, and how good you were, my Arthur boy—Nina’s Arthur first and Miggie’s after me. Now put your arms around me again,” she said, as she finished the blessing which brought such peace to Arthur. “Put them around me tight, for the river is almost here. Don’t you hear its splashing? Miggie, Miggie,” she cried, shivering as with an ague chill, “hold my hand with all your might, but don’t let me pull you in. I’m going down the bank. My feet are in the water, and it’s so freezing cold. I’m sinking, too, and the big waves roll over me. Oh, Arthur, you said it would not hurt,” and the dim eyes flashed upon the weeping man a most reproachful glance, as if he had deceived her, while the feet were drawn shudderingly up, as if they had, indeed, touched the chill tide of death, and shrank affrighted from it. Edith could only sob wildly, as she grasped the clammy hand stretched toward her, but Arthur, more composed, whispered to the dying girl,
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou, Lord, art with me; thy staff and thy rod, they comfort me.”
“Look away to the shore,” he continued, as Nina ceased to struggle, and lay still on his bosom. “Look away to the glorious city—my darling is almost there.”
“Yes, yes, I do, I am,” came faintly up, and then with a glad cry of joy, which rang in their ears for many a day and night, Nina said,
“You may lay me down, my Arthur boy, and take your arm away. There’s a stronger one than yours around me now. The arm that Miggie told me of, and it will not let me down. I’m going over so easy, easy, in a cradle-like, and Dr. Griswold’s there waiting for clipped-winged birdie. He looks so glad, so happy. It is very nice to die; but stand upon the bank, Arthur and Miggie. Wait till I’m across.”
They thought she had left them, when softly, sweetly, as if it were a note of heavenly music sent back to them from the other world, there floated on the air the words,
“Climb up the bank, I’m most across. I do not see you now. Mother--and Miggie’s mother—and Dr. Griswold have waded out to meet me. The darkness is passed, the daylight has dawned; Miggie precious, and darling Arthur boy, good-bye, for Nina’s gone, good-bye.”
The white lips never moved again, the waxen hands lay lifelessly in Arthur’s, the damp, bright hair lay half-uncurled upon the pillow, the blue eyes were closed, the aching head was still, the “twisted brain” had ceased to “buzz,” the Darkness for her was over, and Nina had gone out into the Daylight.