Bending forward, she laid her strong, firm hand upon the hand of the Captain, noting, as she did so, that the finger tips were cold to her own warm touch.
"You are here? It troubles me to see. Stay with me to the end, Ethel. It won't be so very long."
She bowed her head; but the answer came firmly.
There was a short silence. Then, gathering together all his strength, the Captain went on quite steadily,--
"It won't be so very long, Ethel. I am sorry. I liked to live. I have had a good time, and I had no idea that my good times were so nearly over. Not that it would have made much difference, though. And yet, when one comes to the end, all of a sudden, one finds a great many things that are left unfinished."
Gently he urged the final words upon her attention.
"There are always so many things left unfinished," he repeated.
Slowly, as if its weight dragged sorely upon his failing strength, he raised her hand to the pillow and rested his cheek upon it.