“None whatever. Why have you not sent for me before?”
“I hoped, from day to day, to be strong enough to do the washing for the Home again. But instead of growing better, I have grown worse daily. Heaven only knows what I’ll do when I cannot work.”
“Where is your little daughter?”
“Gone to the baker’s, to get me a warm bun. She fancied I could eat one, dear child!”
Touched by these surroundings of poverty and distress, Mrs. Marshall could scarcely repress her tears; but said:
“If you will allow me, I’ll give you some brandy; that will revive you.”
“Indeed, I have none; I used the last drop yesterday.”
“Then I beg that you will allow me to remove you to the Home till you are recovered. There, under Dr. Gibbs’s kind care, you may convalesce rapidly. Here, you are suffering for every comfort, and cannot hope to recover soon. I beg you to go.”
For a moment, the sick woman made no reply, but her lips trembled with emotion, and at length she said sadly:
“I fear I shall never be well again.”
“Oh, yes; be cheerful. I promise that you shall want for nothing at the Home.”
“Can my child go with me there?”
“Yes, you will need her there, as you do here.”
“But I have no money.”
“There is none needed. Just promise to go, and I’ll see that you are removed at once.”
Reluctantly and tearfully Mrs. Moses at last yielded to the matron’s entreaties, repeatedly assuring her that she would endeavor to pay her, when she should regain her health and strength.
Mrs. Marshall remained a while, awaiting the return of the little child. At length she came bounding in with a bright, happy face, holding aloft the coveted bun, and exclaiming wildly, “See, mamma! here it is, nice and warm. Eat it, mamma!”
The matron then departed, promising to make immediate preparations for the mother’s speedy removal.
It was only two months after the kind matron of the Bellevue Home had the invalid Mrs. Moses removed to its hospitable walls, before she saw, with regret, that the life she sought to save was fast passing away. The delicate frame was rapidly yielding to the devastation of consumption. All the skill and attention of kind Dr. Gibbs had proved unavailing. It was too evident that she must soon die.
On the afternoon of a soft June day, succeeding a terrible night with the invalid, Mrs. Marshall had withdrawn for a moment’s rest from the fatigue of watching and nursing. Her slumber was soon broken, however, by Maum Isbel, who, unceremoniously thrusting her head into her chamber, said in an excited tone:
“Miss Lizzie! Miss Lizzie! Mis’ Moses says she would like to see you at once. She seem werry bad to me, ma’am, werry bad indeed; she’s so weak!”
“Hasn’t the doctor come yet, maum Isbel? I have been expecting him this hour,” replied Mrs. Marshall, arising and preparing to go at once to her patient.