"`After the busy day Comes the calm sleep of night,'"
she quoted, with a sententious sigh.
"Calm and sleep do not appear to me to be the highest conditions of life. No! I will not be set aside, even when I am dead, like a burned-out candle!" The indignant tears stood in her eyes. "Why, even in that other world I shall not be a barren stock, thank God! I have given a family to mankind. To watch a long line of your descendants at work, to see in them your own thoughts and your own soul reaching out, live powers through all eternity--I often think of it. That will be--not calm nor sleep."
Miss Vance touched Mrs. Waldeaux's arm affectionately. "What a queer idea, Frances. Well, I never argue, you know. Drop in the harness, if you choose. Let us go in now. It is chilly."
The older woman looked after her, and smiled good-humoredly. After a moment she raised her hand, examining it attentively. Her hand had been very beautiful in shape, white and dimpled, and she had been vain enough to wear fine rings. Now it was yellow and wrinkled. The great emerald looked like a bit of glass upon it.
"Yes, I see," she said, with a miserable little laugh, and then stood looking out into the far distance. "But _I_ am not growing old." She spoke aloud, as if to one who stood apart with her and could understand. "Even out in that other world I shall not be only a mother. I shall be me. ME!" touching her breast. "After a million of years--it will still be me."
There stirred within the lean body and rheumatic limbs depths of unused power, of thought, of love and passion, and, deeper than all, awful possibilities of change.
"I have it in me still to be worse than a murderer," she thought, with whitening face.