30 September - Later
Lord Godalming and Mr. Morris
arrived earlier than we expected. Dr. Seward was out on business, and had taken
Jonathan with him, so I had to see them. It was to me a painful meeting, for it
brought back all poor dear Lucy's hopes of only a few months ago. Of course they
had heard Lucy speak of me, and it seemed that Dr. Van Helsing, too, had been
quite 'blowing my trumpet', as Mr. Morris expressed it. Poor fellows, neither
of them is aware that I know all about the proposals they made to Lucy. They did
not quite know what to say or do, as they were ignorant of the amount of my knowledge.
So they had to keep on neutral subjects. However, I thought the matter over, and
came to the conclusion that the best thing I could do would be to post them on
affairs right up to date. I knew from Dr. Seward's diary that they had been at
Lucy's death, her real death, and that I need not fear to betray any secret before
the time. So I told them, as well as I could, that I had read all the papers and
diaries, and that my husband and I, having typewritten them, had just finished
putting them in order. I gave them each a copy to read in the library. When Lord
Godalming got his and turned it over, it does make a pretty good pile, he said,
"Did you write all this, Mrs. Harker?"
I nodded, and he went on.
don't quite see the drift of it, but you people are all so good and kind, and
have been working so earnestly and so energetically, that all I can do is to accept
your ideas blindfold and try to help you. I have had one lesson already in accepting
facts that should make a man humble to the last hour of his life. Besides, I know
you loved my Lucy . . ."
Here he turned away and covered his face with
his hands. I could hear the tears in his voice. Mr. Morris, with instinctive delicacy,
just laid a hand for a moment on his shoulder, and then walked quietly out of
the room. I suppose there is something in a woman's nature that makes a man free
to break down before her and express his feelings on the tender or emotional side
without feeling it derogatory to his manhood. For when Lord Godalming found himself
alone with me he sat down on the sofa and gave way utterly and openly. I sat down
beside him and took his hand. I hope he didn't think it forward of me, and that
if he ever thinks of it afterwards he never will have such a thought. There I
wrong him. I know he never will. He is too true a gentleman. I said to him, for
I could see that his heart was breaking, "I loved dear Lucy, and I know what
she was to you, and what you were to her. She and I were like sisters, and now
she is gone, will you not let me be like a sister to you in your trouble? I know
what sorrows you have had, though I cannot measure the depth of them. If sympathy
and pity can help in your affliction, won't you let me be of some little service,
for Lucy's sake?"
In an instant the poor dear fellow was overwhelmed
with grief. It seemed to me that all that he had of late been suffering in silence
found a vent at once. He grew quite hysterical, and raising his open hands, beat
his palms together in a perfect agony of grief. He stood up and then sat down
again, and the tears rained down his cheeks. I felt an infinite pity for him,
and opened my arms unthinkingly. With a sob he laid his head on my shoulder and
cried like a wearied child, whilst he shook with emotion.
We women have
something of the mother in us that makes us rise above smaller matters when the
mother spirit is invoked. I felt this big sorrowing man's head resting on me,
as though it were that of a baby that some day may lie on my bosom, and I stroked
his hair as though he were my own child. I never thought at the time how strange
it all was.
After a little bit his sobs ceased, and he raised himself with
an apology, though he made no disguise of his emotion. He told me that for days
and nights past, weary days and sleepless nights, he had been unable to speak
with any one, as a man must speak in his time of sorrow. There was no woman whose
sympathy could be given to him, or with whom, owing to the terrible circumstance
with which his sorrow was surrounded, he could speak freely.
now how I suffered," he said, as he dried his eyes, "but I do not know
even yet, and none other can ever know, how much your sweet sympathy has been
to me today. I shall know better in time, and believe me that, though I am not
ungrateful now, my gratitude will grow with my understanding. You will let me
be like a brother, will you not, for all our lives, for dear Lucy's sake?"
dear Lucy's sake," I said as we clasped hands. "Ay, and for your own
sake," he added, "for if a man's esteem and gratitude are ever worth
the winning, you have won mine today. If ever the future should bring to you a
time when you need a man's help, believe me, you will not call in vain. God grant
that no such time may ever come to you to break the sunshine of your life, but
if it should ever come, promise me that you will let me know."
so earnest, and his sorrow was so fresh, that I felt it would comfort him, so
I said, "I promise."
As I came along the corridor I saw Mr. Morris
looking out of a window. He turned as he heard my footsteps. "How is Art?"
he said. Then noticing my red eyes, he went on, "Ah, I see you have been
comforting him. Poor old fellow! He needs it. No one but a woman can help a man
when he is in trouble of the heart, and he had no one to comfort him."
bore his own trouble so bravely that my heart bled for him. I saw the manuscript
in his hand, and I knew that when he read it he would realize how much I knew,
so I said to him, "I wish I could comfort all who suffer from the heart.
Will you let me be your friend, and will you come to me for comfort if you need
it? You will know later why I speak."
He saw that I was in earnest,
and stooping, took my hand, and raising it to his lips, kissed it. It seemed but
poor comfort to so brave and unselfish a soul, and impulsively I bent over and
kissed him. The tears rose in his eyes, and there was a momentary choking in his
throat. He said quite calmly, "Little girl, you will never forget that true
hearted kindness, so long as ever you live!" Then he went into the study
to his friend.
"Little girl!" The very words he had used to Lucy,
and, oh, but he proved himself a friend.