Clara Heyward was dressed in deep mourning, and it was evident that the emblems of bereavement were not worn merely in compliance with a social custom. Her face was pallid from grief, and her dark beautiful eyes were dim from much weeping. She sat in the little parlor of a cottage located in a large Californian city, and listened with apathetic expression as a young man pleaded for the greatest and most sacred gift that a woman can bestow. Ralph Brandt was a fine type of young vigorous manhood; and we might easily fancy that his strong, resolute face, now eloquent with deep feeling, was not one upon which a girl could look with indifference. Clara's words, however, revealed the apparent hopelessness of his suit.
The consultation was held, and Nichol (as he may be more properly named hereafter) was closely questioned and carefully examined. The result merely confirmed previous impressions. It was explained, as far as explanation can be given of the mysterious functions of the brain, that either the concussion of the exploding shell or the wound from a flying fragment had paralyzed the organ of memory. When such paralysis would cease, if ever, no one could tell. The power to recall everything might return at any moment or it might be delayed indefinitely. A shock, a familiar face, might supply the potency required, or restoration come through the slow, unseen processes of nature. Martine believed that Helen's face and voice would accomplish everything.
"Now I'll 'tend ter yer, but yer mout let a feller sleep when he kin."
WHAT BRANDT SAW CHRISTMAS EVE
By the time Jamie returned with his first basket of kindling and coal, the mother had so far rallied from her exhaustion as to meet him smilingly again and help him replenish the dying fire.
"You have heard too much from the soldiers about living off the country. I'd rather raid mamma's cupboard before we start. I'll be ready as soon as you are."
"In that aspect of the case it would be a shame to me if any side I have is not right toward those who have so honored me," he hastened to say.
At the time of our story, Phebe was only twelve years of age, but was mature beyond her years. There were several younger children, and she had become almost womanly in aiding her mother in their care. Her stout, plump little body had been developed rather than enfeebled by early toil, and a pair of resolute and often mirthful blue eyes bespoke a spirit not easily daunted. She was a native growth of the period, vitalized by pure air and out-of-door pursuits, and she abounded in the shrewd intelligence and demure refinement of her sect to a degree that led some of their neighbors to speak of her as "a little old woman." When alone with the children, however, or in the woods and fields, she would doff her Quaker primness, and romp, climb trees, and frolic with the wildest.