Read CHAPTER XV of The Love Story of Abner Stone , free online book, by Edwin Carlile Litsey, on

The next day Salome was seized with a severe headache. She did not leave the house, and of course I did not see her, as she stayed in her room upstairs. We felt no especial concern, although she was not accustomed to such attacks, and with the coming of night her head grew easier. I went out after supper to pace up and down the avenue, to smoke my pipe, and to watch the windows of her room. I remained in the yard till nearly eleven, and the light was still burning when I went in. The next morning Mrs. Grundy told me that Salome had some fever, and that a doctor had been sent for. I heard the news in silent fear, and my heart sank. I longed to tell this good old woman what her daughter was to me; but Salome had said nothing about it, and I could not speak without her consent.

The doctor came, an important-looking young fellow whom I felt inclined to kick off the porch the moment he set foot on it. When he descended from the sick room he pompously announced that it was only an ordinary cold, which would quickly disappear before the remedies which he had left. But the days went by, and she grew no better, and I never saw her. How my heart hungered for a glance of her sweet face; how my eyes longed to look into the clear, brown depths of hers. One morning I was told that a leading physician from Louisville had been summoned. Dr. Yandel came and stayed. Typhoid fever is a grim foe which requires vigilance as well as medical skill.

I went about like one distraught with a cold hand gripping my heart. It was then she asked to see me. I went to her room for a few moments, and came out with my face gray, and a pitiful, broken prayer to God. Two weeks and one night they came for me. Like a broken, shattered lily she lay, but her lips smiled with their last breath, and whispered “Abner.”

Blinded and weak, I groped my way out into the night, and sat down. My yellow dog found me, and crept, whining, between my knees. When I lifted my stricken face to the sky, I thought I saw a misty shallop touch the strand of heaven, and a slender white figure with brown hair step onto the plains of Paradise.