We shall see thee
sometimes, and spring will make thee long for the flowers, I hope,"
was Mrs. Sterling's answer, as Christie gave back the note at the
end of her difficult speech.
"Don't think me ungrateful. I have been very happy here, and never
shall forget how motherly kind you have been to me. You will believe
this and love me still, though I go away and leave you for a little
while?" prayed Christie, with a face full of treacherous emotion.
Mrs. Sterling laid her hand on Christie's head, as she knelt down
impulsively before her, and with a soft solemnity that made the
words both an assurance and a blessing, she said:
"I believe and love and honor thee, my child. My heart warmed to
thee from the first: it has taken thee to itself now; and nothing
can ever come between us, unless thee wills it. Remember that, and
go in peace with an old friend's thanks, and good wishes in return
for faithful service, which no money can repay."
Christie laid her cheek against that wrinkled one, and, for a
moment, was held close to that peaceful old heart which felt so
tenderly for her, yet never wounded her by a word of pity.
Infinitely comforting was that little instant of time, when the
venerable woman consoled the young one with a touch, and
strengthened her by the mute eloquence of sympathy.