Work: A Story of Experience HTML version

XVIII. Sunrise
THREE months later the war seemed drawing toward an end, and Christie was dreaming
happy dreams of home and rest with David, when, as she sat one day writing a letter full
of good news to the wife of a patient, a telegram was handed to her, and tearing it open
she read:
"Captain Sterling dangerously wounded. Tell his wife to come at once. E. WILKINS."
"No bad news I hope, ma'am?" said the young fellow anxiously, as his half-written letter
fluttered to the ground, and Christie sat looking at that fateful strip of paper with all the
strength and color stricken out of her face by the fear that fell upon her.
"It might be worse. They told me he was dying once, and when I got to him he met me at
the door. I'll hope for the best now as I did then, but I never felt like this before," and she
hid her face as if daunted by ominous forebodings too strong to be controlled.
In a moment she was up and doing as calm and steady as if her heart was not torn by an
anxiety too keen for words. By the time the news had flown through the house, she was
ready; and, coming down with no luggage but a basket of comforts on her arm, she found
the hall full of wan and crippled creatures gathered there to see her off, for no nurse in the
hospital was more beloved than Mrs. Sterling. Many eyes followed her,--many lips
blessed her, many hands were outstretched for a sympathetic grasp: and, as the
ambulance went clattering away, many hearts echoed the words of one grateful ghost of a
man, "The Lord go with her and stand by her as she's stood by us."
It was not a long journey that lay before her; but to Christie it seemed interminable, for
all the way one unanswerable question haunted her, "Surely God will not be so cruel as to
take David now when he has done his part so well and the reward is so near."
It was dark when she arrived at the appointed spot; but Elisha Wilkins was there to
receive her, and to her first breathless question, "How is David?" answered briskly:
"Asleep and doin' well, ma'am. At least I should say so, and I peeked at him the last thing
before I started."
"Where is he?"
"In the little hospital over yonder. Camp warn't no place for him, and I fetched him here
as the nighest, and the best thing I could do for him."
"How is he wounded?"
"Shot in the shoulder, side, and arm."
"Dangerously you said?"