“How she will come to me,” he said to himself, feeling, in fancy, her soft arms around him, and her warm lips on his, while the life-current flowed steadily from her to him and made him a man again, not a weakling. His heart beat with a joy that was almost pain, for he could feel her intoxicating nearness even now. Perhaps her sweet eyes would overflow with the greatness of her love and her tears would fall upon his face when she knelt beside him, to lay her head upon his breast.
“How she will come to me!” he breathed, in ecstasy. “Ah, how she will come!”
And so, smiling, he slept, as the first shaft of sun that brought his dear To-Morrow fell full upon his face.
HOW ISABEL CAME
Madame Bernard and Rose were so deeply affected by Allison’s misfortune that they scarcely took note of Isabel’s few bruises, greatly to that young woman’s disgust. She chose to consider herself in the light of a martyr and had calmly received the announcement that Allison’s left hand would probably have to be amputated.
None of them had seen him, though the two older women were ready to go at any hour of the day or night they might be needed or asked for. Isabel affected a sprained ankle and limped badly when anyone was looking. Once or twice she had been seen to walk almost as usual, though she did not know it.
The upper hall, and, occasionally, the other parts of the house, smelled of the various liniments and lotions with which she anointed herself. She scorned the suggestion that she should stay in bed, for she was quite comfortable upon a couch, in her most becoming negligee, with a novel and a box of chocolates to bear her company.
At first, she had taken her meals in her own room, but, finding that it was more pleasant to be downstairs with the others for luncheon and dinner, managed to go up and down the long flight of stairs twice each day.
Placid as she was, the table was not a cheerful place, for the faces of the other two were haggard and drawn, and neither made more than a pretence of eating. Daily bulletins came from the other house as to Allison’s condition, and Madame was in constant communication by telegraph with Colonel Kent. She kept him reassured as much as possible, and did not tell him of Allison’s ineradicable delusion that his father was dead.
Allison’s note was given to Isabel at luncheon the day after it was written, having been delayed in delivery the night before until after she was asleep. With it was a letter from her mother, which had come in the noon mail.
She opened Allison’s note first, read it, and put it back into the envelope. Her mother’s letter was almost equally brief. That, too, she returned to its envelope without comment.
“How is your mother, Isabel?” inquired Madame, having caught a glimpse of the bold, dashing superscription which was familiar, though infrequent.