"What has thee been dreaming about, my little girl?" said Miss Martha.
"Angels and things, I guess," said the child, somewhat roused.
"Will thee go home with me and live?" said the lady.
"Yes'm," replied Gerty, and went to sleep again.
Two days later she was well enough to ride to Miss Martha's in a carriage, escorted by Madam Delia and by Anne, "that dull, uninteresting child," as Miss Amy had reluctantly described her, "so different from this graceful Adelaide." This romantic name was a rapid assumption of the soft-hearted Miss Amy's, but, once suggested, it was as thoroughly-fixed as if a dozen baptismal fonts had written it in water.
Madam Delia was sustained, up to the time of Gerty's going, by a sense of self-sacrifice. But this emotion, like other strong stimulants, has its reactions. That remorse for a crime committed in vain, which Dr. Johnson thought the acutest of human emotions, is hardly more depressing than to discover that we have got beyond our depth in virtue, and are in water where we really cannot quite swim,--and this was the good woman's position. During her whole wandering though blameless life,--in her girlish days, when she charmed snakes at Meddibemps, or through her brief time of service as plain Car'line Prouty at the Biddeford mills, or when she ran away from her step-mother and took refuge among the Indians at Orono, or later, since she had joined her fate with that of De Marsan,--she had never been so severely tried.
"That child was so smart," she said, beneath the evening canvas, to her sympathetic spouse. "I always expected when we got old we'd kinder retire on a farm or suthin', and let her and her husband--say Comstock, if he was young enough--run the business. And even after she showed us the ring and things, I thought likely she'd just come into her property somewheres and take care of us. I don't know as I ever thought she'd leave us, either way, and there she's gone."
"She won't forget us," said the peaceful proprietor.
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