PublicBookshelf Book Club
Mary Roberts Rinehart
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Edith Boyd's child was prematurely born at the Memorial Hospital early the next morning. It lived only a few moments, but Edith's mother never knew either of its birth or of its death.
When Willy Cameron reached the house at two o'clock that night he found Dan in the lower hall, a new Dan, grave and composed but very pale.
"Mother's gone, Willy," he said quietly. "I don't think she knew anything about it. Ellen heard her breathing hard and went in, but she wasn't conscious." He sat down on the horse-hair covered chair by the stand. "I don't know anything about these things," he observed, still with that strange new composure. "What do you do now?"
"Don't worry about that, Dan, just now. There's nothing to do until morning."
He looked about him. The presence of death gave a new dignity to the little house. Through the open door he could see in the parlor Mrs. Boyd's rocking chair, in which she had traveled so many conversational miles. Even the chair had gained dignity; that which it had once enthroned had now penetrated the ultimate mystery.
He was shaken and very weary. His mind worked slowly and torpidly, so that even grief came with an effort. He was grieved; he knew that. Some one who had loved him and depended on him was gone; some one who loved life had lost it. He ran his hand over his singed hair.