LIFE AMONG THE LOWLY 373
" Uncle Tom, did Miss Eva say she felt more unwell than usual to-night ? "
" No ; but she telled me, this morning, she was coming nearer, — thai* 's them that tells it to the child, Miss Feely. It *s the angels, — ' it's the trumpet sound afore the break o' day,' " said Tom, quoting from a favorite hymn.
This dialogue passed between Miss Ophelia and Tom, between ten and eleven, one evening, after her arrangements had all been made for the night, when, on going to bolt her outer door, she found Tom stretched along by it, in the outer veranda.
She was not nervous or impressible; but the solemn, heartfelt manner struck her. Eva had been unusually bright and cheerful, that afternoon, and had sat raised in her bed, and looked over all her little trinkets and precious things, and designated the friends to whom she would have them given ; and her manner was more animated, and her voice more natural, than they had known it for weeks. Her father had been in, in the evening, and had said that Eva appeared more like her former self than ever she had done since her sickness; and when he kissed her for the night, he said to Miss Ophelia, — " Cousin, we may keep her with us, after all; she is certainly better ; " and he had retired with a lighter heart in his bosom than he had had for weeks.
But at midnight, — strange, mystic hour ! — when the veil between the frail present and the eternal future grows thin, — then came the messenger !
There was a sound in that chamber, first of one who stepped quickly. It was Miss Ophelia, who had resolved to sit up all night with her little charge, and who, at the turn of the night, had discerned what experienced nurses significantly call " a change." The outer door was quickly opened, and Tom, who was watching outside, was on the alert, in a moment.
" Go for the doctor, Tom ! lose not a moment," said Miss Ophelia; and, stepping across the room, she rapped at St. Clare's door.