Dr. Stanley, alertly observant of every change, believed it was the end; but, having relinquished his patient, knowing that he was absolutely helpless at this supreme moment, he made no sign.
Presently Mrs. Minturn broke the silence.
“Will you please leave me alone with her for a while?” she asked.
“Oh, I cannot leave my child!” panted Mrs. Seabrook, rebelliously.
“She is in our Father’s care—our trust is in Him,” Mrs. Minturn gently returned. “Go into the next room and lie down. I promise to call you if there is the slightest need, and, believe me, I ask only what is best.”
Dr. Stanley took his sister by the hand and led her unresistingly from the room. He made her go to an adjoining chamber and lie upon a couch, then seated himself beside her.
To his amazement her tense form almost instantly relaxed and in twenty minutes she was asleep.
He sat there with his head bowed upon his hands for nearly two hours, thinking as he had seldom thought during his whole life. At the end of that time the door of Dorothy’s room was noiselessly opened and Mrs. Minturn beckoned to him.
He went to her—softly closing to but not latching the door of his sister’s room—to ascertain what she wanted, but with fear and trembling.
“Please get me a glass of warm milk,” she said to him.
“There is some brandy—” he began.
“No; milk, if you please,” she returned, and disappeared within the room.
A few minutes later he handed the glass in to her and the door was shut again.
Another endless hour and a half he passed sitting upon a balcony that opened off the same floor, waiting—waiting for he knew not what.
Then Mrs. Minturn came to him with the empty tumbler in her hand.
“Have it filled again, please,” she said.
“Is it for—Dorothy?”
“Yes; she has taken what you brought before and asked for more.”
“Asked!” and in spite of his professional self-poise the man’s heart bounded into his throat.
“Yes, she is awake; is perfectly conscious and free from pain, though weak, to sense; but we know that God is omnipresent strength,” Mrs. Minturn replied, with an assurance that proved to him she was confidently resting upon the Rock of Ages, and which also inspired him with hope.
When he returned with the milk he longed to go in and see for himself how the child was progressing, but Mrs. Minturn stood in the aperture of the half-opened door, and he instinctively knew that his presence was not desired.
As she took the glass from him she inquired:
“Is Mrs. Seabrook sleeping?”
“I think so—she was when I left her.”
“Pray let her rest,” said his companion; “but if she should wake tell her that Dorrie is more comfortable; that I shall remain with her all night and do not wish to be disturbed. And you, Dr. Stanley”—with gentle authority—“you must try to rest also; you may safely trust the child to God, and with me as His sentinel, for she is doing well. But first, if you will slip over to the house and ask Katherine to send my night-wrapper I can make myself more comfortable; just drop it outside the door, then go to bed and ‘be not faithless but believing,’ Good-night.”