Instantly the brush which Edith held was stayed amid her raven hair, and the hot tears rained over her face as she listened to that prayer, that God would keep Nina from tearing any more, and not let Arthur cry, but make it all come right some time with him and Miggie, too. Then followed that simple petition, “now I lay me down to sleep,” learned at the mother’s knee by so many thousand children whose graves like hillocks in the church-yard lie, and when she arose and came from behind the gauzy screen where she fancied she had been hidden from view, Edith was not wrong in thinking that something like the glory of Heaven shone upon her pure white brow. All dread of her was gone, and when Sophy came in, offering to sleep upon the floor as was her usual custom, she promptly declined, for she would rather be alone with Nina.
Edith had never been intimate with any girl of her own age, and to her it was a happiness entirely new, she nestling down in the narrow bed with a loved companion whose arms wound themselves caressingly around her neck, and whose lips touched hers many times, whispering, “Bless you, Miggie, bless you, precious sister, you can’t begin to guess how much I love you. Neither can I tell you. Why, it would take me till morning.”
It became rather tiresome after a time being kept awake, and fearing lest she would talk till morning, Edith said to her,
“I shall go home if you are not more quiet.”
There was something in Edith’s voice which prompted the crazy girl to obey, and with one more assurance of love she turned to her pillow, and Edith knew by her soft, regular breathing, that her troubles were forgotten.
“I hardly think you’ll care to repeat the experiment again,” Arthur said to Edith next morning, when he met her at the table, and saw that she looked rather weary. “Nina, I fear, was troublesome, as Sophy tells me she often is.”
Edith denied Nina’s having troubled her much. Still she felt that she preferred her own cozy bed-chamber to Nina’s larger, handsomer room, and would not promise to spend another night at Grassy Spring, although she expressed her willingness to resume her drawing lessons, and suggested that Nina, too, should become a pupil. Arthur would much rather have had Edith all to himself, for he knew that Nina’s presence would be a restraint upon him, but it was right, and he consented as the only means of having Edith back again in her old place, fancying that when he had her there it would be the same as before. But he was mistaken, for when the lessons were resumed, he found there was something between them,— something which absorbed Edith’s mind, and was to him a constant warning and rebuke. Did he bend so near Edith at her task, that his brown locks touched her blacker braids, a shower of golden curls was sure to mingle with the twain, as Nina also bent her down to see what he was looking at. Did the hand which sometimes guided Edith’s pencil ever