I have always had the soul of an operator, somebody who
'Twas her duchess sister who clad her for her last sleeping, and made her chamber fair--the hand of no other touched her; and while 'twas done the tower chamber was full of the golden sunshine, and the doves ceased not to flutter about the window, and coo as if they spoke lovingly to each other of what lay within the room.
Then the children came to look, their arms full of blossoms and flowering sprays. They had been told only fair things of death, and knowing but these fair things, thought of it but as the opening of a golden door. They entered softly, as entering the chamber of a queen, and moving tenderly, with low and gentle speech, spread all their flowers about the bed--laying them round her head, on her breast, and in her hands, and strewing them thick everywhere.
"She lies in a bower and smiles at us," one said. "She hath grown beautiful like you, mother, and her face seems like a white star in the morning."
"She loves us as she ever did," the fair child Daphne said; "she will never cease to love us, and will be our angel. Now have we an angel of our own."
When the duke returned, who had been absent since the day before, the duchess led him to the tower chamber, and they stood together hand in hand and gazed at her peace.
"Gerald," the duchess said, in her tender voice, "she smiles, does not she?"
"Yes," was Osmonde's answer--"yes, love, as if at God, who has smiled at herself--faithful, tender woman heart!"
The hand which he held in his clasp clung closer. The other crept to his shoulder and lay there tremblingly.