“Remember me to the others, say good-bye for me, and believe me, with all good wishes,
“Your friend always,
When she sealed and addressed it, she had a queer sense of closing the door, with her own hands, upon all the joy Life might have in store for her in years to come. Yet the past few weeks were secure, beyond the power of change or loss, and her pride was saved.
No one could keep her from loving him, and the thought brought a certain comfort to her sore heart. Wherever he might be and whatever might happen to him, she could still love him from afar, and have, for her very own, the woman’s joy of utmost giving.
When the carriage came, she went down, and, without a word put her note into Aunt Francesca’s faithful hands. Isabel had not appeared, fortunately, and it was not necessary to leave any message—Aunt Francesca would make it right, as she always had with everybody.
When the little old lady lifted her face, saying: “Good-bye, dear, come back to me soon,” Rose’s heart misgave her. “I’ll stay,” she said, brokenly; “I won’t leave you.”
But Madame only smiled, and nodded toward the waiting train. She stood on the platform, waving her little lace-bordered handkerchief, until the last car rounded the curve and the fluttering bit of white that was waved in answer had vanished.
Then Madame sighed, wiped her eyes, and drove home.
A BIRTHDAY PARTY
Allison received the note from Rose at the time he was expecting Rose herself, and was keenly disappointed. “She might at least have stopped long enough to say good-bye,” he said to his father.
“Don’t be selfish, lad,” laughed the Colonel. “We owe her now a debt that we can never hope to pay.”
The young man’s face softened. “What a brick she has been!” Then, to himself, he added: “if she had loved me, she couldn’t have done more.”
Life seemed very good to them both that crisp September morning. Just after breakfast Doctor Jack had announced, definitely, that the crushed hand was saved, unless there should be some unlooked-for complication “But mind you,” he insisted, “I don’t promise any violin-playing, and there’ll be scars, but we’ll make it look as well as we can. Anyhow, you’ll not be helpless.”
Allison smiled happily. “Why can’t I play, if it heals up all right?”
“There may be a nerve or two that won’t work just right, or a twisted muscle, or something. However we’ll keep hoping.”
The heavy weight that had lain so long upon Allison’s heart was slow in lifting. At first he could not believe the good news, greatly to Doctor Jack’s disgust.
“You don’t seem to care much,” he remarked. “I supposed you’d turn at least one somersault. The Colonel is more pleased than you are.”
“Dear old dad,” said Allison, gratefully. “I owe him everything.”