There was a deep bow-window where Laura used to sit and watch us, sometimes, when we put off in the boat. Her æolian harp was in the casement, breaking its heart in music. A delicate handkerchief was lodged between the cushions of the window-seat,--the very handkerchief she used to wave, in summer days long gone. The white boats went sailing beneath the evening light, children shouted and splashed in the water, a song came from a yacht, a steam-whistle shrilled from the receding steamer; but she for whom alone those little signs of life had been dear and precious would henceforth be as invisible to our eyes as if time and space had never held her; and the young moon and the evening star seemed but empty things unless they could pilot us to some world where the splendor of her loveliness could match their own.
Twilight faded, evening darkened, and still Kenmure lay motionless, until his strong form grew in my moody fancy to be like some carving of Michel Angelo's, more than like a living man. And when he at last startled me by speaking, it was with a voice so far off and so strange, it might almost have come wandering down from the century when Michel Angelo lived.
"You are right," he said. "I have been living in a fruitless dream. It has all vanished. The absurdity of speaking of creative art! With all my life-long devotion, I have created nothing. I have kept no memorial of her presence, nothing to perpetuate the most beautiful of lives."
Before I could answer, the door came softly open, and there stood in the doorway a small white figure, holding aloft a lighted taper of pure alabaster. It was Marian in her little night-dress, with the loose blue wrapper trailing behind her, let go in the effort to hold carefully the doll, Susan Halliday, robed also for the night.
"May I come in?" said the child.
Kenmure was motionless at first: then, looking over his shoulder, said merely, "What?"
"Janet said," continued Marian, in her clear and methodical way, "that my mother was up in heaven, and would help God hear my prayers at any rate; but if I pleased, I could come and say them by you."
A shudder passed over Kenmure; then he turned away, and put his hands over his eyes. She waited for no answer, but, putting down the candlestick, in her wonted careful manner, upon a chair, she began to climb upon the bed, lifting laboriously one little rosy foot, then another, still dragging after her, with great effort, the doll. Nestling at her father's breast, I saw her kneel.
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