Chapter XXXVI. Last Words

Edith did sustain the family on the products of her little place. And, more than that, the yield from her vines and orchard was so abundant that she aided Arden to meet the interest of the mortgage on the Lacey place, so that Mr. Crowl could not foreclose that autumn, as he intended. She so woke her dreamy lover up that he soon became a keen, masterful man of business, and, at her suggestion, at once commenced the culture of small fruits, she giving him a good start from her own place.

Rose took the situation of nurse with Judge Clifford's married daughter, having the care of two little children. She thus secured a pleasant, sheltered home, where she was treated with great kindness. Instead of running in debt, as in New York, she was able to save the greater part of her wages, and in two years had enough ahead to take time to learn the dressmakers' trade thoroughly, for which she had a taste. But a sensible young mechanic, who had long been attentive, at last persuaded her to make him a happy home.

Mrs. Lacey's prayers were effectual in the case of her husband, for, to the astonishment of the whole neighborhood, he reformed. Laura remained a pale home-blossom, sheltered by Edith's love.

With the blossoms she loved, Zell faded away in the autumn, but her death was like that of the flowers, in the full hope of the glad springtime of a new life. As her eyes closed and she breathed her last sigh out on Edith's bosom, old Hannibal sobbed--

"She's--a white rose--now--sure 'nuff."

Arden and Edith were married the following year, on the 14th of June, the anniversary of their engagement. Edith greatly shocked Mrs. Allen by having the ceremony performed in the garden.

"Why not?" she said. "God once married a couple there."

Mrs. Groody, Mr. and Mrs. McTrump, Mrs. Ranger, Mrs. Hart and her daughters, and quite a number of other friends were present.

Hannibal stood by the white rosebush, that was again in bloom, and tears of joy, mingling with those of sorrow, bedewed the sweet flowers.

And Malcom stood up, after the ceremony, and said, with a certain dignity that for a moment hushed and impressed all present:

"Tho' I'm a little mon, I sometimes ha' great tho'ts, an' I have learned to ken fra my gudewife there, an' this sweet blossom o' the Lord's, that woman can bring a' the wourld to God if she will. That's what she can do."