DIANE Tyler smiled warmly as she wrote the words: Yes, dearest Sis, I'm very sure I'm doing the right thing. Very, very sure. I know it must seem rather queer to you, and I can just hear you saying to your Fred, "Imagine! a schoolteacher who has taught for twenty-five years falling in love like a schoolgirl!" I don't blame you, Suzanne darling, not a bit, but if you will think of me as a schoolgirl grown up, it will seem perfectly normal and proper, will it not? Anyway it's true, so wish me joy. You may even congratulate me when you write. I can see no reason why not. Don't you think a girl or woman who gets a good husband, should be congratulated?
Please answer the minute you get this, for since you can't come to my wedding, I would like you to write me my first letter addressed to Mrs. Richard Nordley.
I must close. Someone is knocking, and I think it is Richard.
* * * * * *
IANE smiled as she opened the door. It was not Richard, but her brother Tom who entered and took her in his arms. For a few moments neither spoke, then he held her at arm's length, saying, "How let me take a look at you." He scrutinized her a few seconds, then said, "Why, you're downright beautiful, Diane. You're in love, that is certain. He better be good enough, is all I have to say." He was smiling broadly.
"Oh, he is, Tom! Just wait till you meet him which should be very soon. You might even decide he is too good for me."
Tom continued, "Diane, I want you to know that I appreciate the care and love you so unselfishly gave Mother in her declining years. I am proud as proud to be your brother. I repeat, Richard better be good."
Tears threatened to overflow as Diane whispered, "Thank you, Tom. He is good."
The doorbell rang again, and Richard was admitted. Diane's eyes were shining as the two men shook hands after her introduction. Turning to Tom she said, "Will he do?"
Still holding Richard's hand, he answered, "Yes, Diane, he will do." Then his eyes met Richard's again and he spoke to him, "And that is saying a lot for you, for this is a wonderful girl you're getting. I couldn't begin to tell you all the reasons why everyone who knows her loves her, but will simply state that she is not just a teacher, but a mother-teacher. She has taken a motherly interest in every child she has taught. At times she has supplied the money needed for tonsil operations, eye examinations, and glasses, for toys, and even food, and for the higher education of some who would otherwise not have been able to continue their schooling. And she has financed missions for two of her boys as she calls them. You would be surprised how many of her children call her blessed." Tom turned to Diane and smiled, "There, I'll say no more. I just thought your Richard should know."
"Thanks, Tom." Diane's voice was almost a whisper.
Richard was deeply touched. "I am grateful you told me, but am not surprised. I am a very lucky man, I know." He drew Diane to him as he spoke.
N hour later, alone in her room, Diane sat looking at her mother's wedding picture in its frame on her dresser. In the pregnant silence she spoke softly as she would have done had her mother been present.
"Little Mother, there is much I have to say to you tonight. You look so young and happy with your John, as you always spoke of Father. I know your happiness now, for after tomorrow I shall be able to say 'My Richard,' for he will be mine forever. Yes, Mother, I know he is Mary's, too. You loved Mary, Mother, remember? I shall not try to take her place in Richard's life, but to make a place of my own, and Richard's love is big and strong and tender enough for both of us and for his children.
"Just think, Mother, at last I shall have children! How I have yearned for them as Suzanne's have come to her. Now I shall have five to mother, and the youngest is only three! How I shall love them!
"Remember how you often expressed regret that you allowed me to stay home with you that winter you were so ill? You said had I kept on with my college work uninterrupted, I might have met the man and married. I did have a wonderful time that first year, didn't I, with three proposals! But remember, Mother, I have never regretted for a moment that year I had home with you. Such a sweet companionship as we had! And I'm glad for each year since that I had you with me while I have been teaching.
"Mother, I want you to know I have not been cheated. Richard is worth waiting for, and, while waiting, I have helped to mold the pliant minds of youth in the pattern they should go. My life has not been barren of love, for I have had the love and confidence of many mothers' children. Of course, I've wondered at times and even feared that life was passing me by, but I have been spared all bitterness by understanding and loving the children who had mothers, yet needed mothering. There are many such children, Mother, and I may yet have a child of my own."
Diane's voice was so low she could hardly hear it herself, as she continued, "Do you recall, Mother, the time you said, 'You are a good girl, Diane, and your happiness will come, sure as sure'? It has come, Mother, and I feel young and girlish, not at all like an old maid. I feel as young and beautiful within as you look. Good night Mother. Good night."
In Diane's dream she was wafted away to a quiet, blue lagoon where Richard and five children were waiting for her. Even in her dream she realized that God's spirit had been guiding her craft.