Helen was away from her cottage for several days to meet friends and attend conferences. and when she returned, so did Nan, the old servant. Apparently, she had been following Helen on her travels, which suggests that she was no longer earthbound and attached to one place. She talked excitedly and confidentially in her Cockney East End London dialect.
Nan - Hello, Madam. I been lookin' for you. You weren't 'ere. But I found you, with lots of other people. Yes, I FOUND you. You see, I got to go on, soon, an' I wanted to tell you what's 'appened to me. Yes, I did want you to know.
Helen - It sounds as if something very exciting happened. Do tell me.
Nan - Oh, it was excitin'. After a bit. At first as I told you, I was scared. I felt I 'ad to look for my grave, as I told you. I started to wander about, an' I didn't know where I was, or which way to go. An' I kept sayin' to meself, 'I'm dead. But I must be goin' somewhere. I must be goin' somewhere. Where?' I thought, 'I wish I could find a Bobby (policeman) like in London.' But there weren't no Bobbies, least I never saw none. An' I remembered wot you said. I'd got a new body. Only it didn't look no different. An' sometimes I thought about the Mistress in 'ell, but I didn't feel sorry for 'er. Only I got afraid I might be goin' there too, and I'd 'ave to see 'er again. I knew I wasn't going to do wot she told me, this time, even in 'ell. I felt more sure of meself, like. An' you told me I would find a pleasant place, so I reckoned it wouldn't be 'ell, where SHE is! An' I walked and walked; then I started to call out loud:
'Someone come and find me' ...like you said....'Come an' find me. I'm here.' Oh, it seemed a long walk all alone. An' then I saw 'IM, a little old man sitting on the side of a hill.
'Who are you?' I says.
'I'm me,' he says
'So am I,' I says. 'Only I'm dead.'
'So am I,' he says.
We weren't gettin' very far, were we? So I says,
'I'm afraid. I only just found out I'm dead.'
'Oh, you needn't be afraid,' he says. 'Where are you goin' now?
I says I didn't know, maybe to 'eaven or to 'ell. Then I asks him the way to one or other of 'em.
'E didn't rightly know about 'ell, he says; but it weren't that awful far to Heaven.
Oh, I was cheered up at that, I was. I thought, 'Per'aps he's a Bobby... a 'eavenly Bobby.' An' d'you know, 'e seemed to read wot I was thinkin'.
'No, I ain't a Bobby,' he says.
I was a bit depressed about that. 'Well, 'ow do I get to Heaven?' I asks him. 'Can you show me the way?' (She paused and chuckled). You know, Madam, 'e gives me such a queer answer. 'E made me go all embarrassed.
'The Way,' he says, 'The Way? It's simple. You just says your prayers. That's all.'
'All?' I answers 'im, seeing all hopes of getting there gone. 'I don't know no prayers, I don't.'
'Course you do,' he says. 'Your Mam taught you "Gentle Jesus" and "Our Father."'
I didn't ask him how he knew that; I suppose I never thought about it. Anyway, I cheered up a bit, 'cos I didn't 'ave to say anything fancy. "Our Father," Yes, I remember that. Only I wasn't really sure if I did. It had been a long while since I'd said it. 'E must have known that too about me, 'cos he says,
'Come on, then. Let's say that together. It'll maybe bring someone you know.'
An' I knelt down like I used to when I was little in Sunday school, an' we says it together, "Our Father, which art in Heaven,......" I was cryin' when we finished, cryin' fit to break me heart, an' I couldn't see proper because me eyes seemed all wet. Then I felt that the little old man was 'olding my hand, he was, an' I thought he would lead me the right way. I turn round to thank 'im, and to look at 'im, an'...an' he'd gone. An' there was my Dad, my old Dad just like 'e used to be. Oh, Madam, I stared at 'im, I did. I says,
'Dad? Oh, Dad, are you dead, too?'
An' 'e laughed. My old Dad,'e laughed. 'I been dead a long time, my girl,' he says. 'So 'ave you. We been waitin' for you to wake up. We been waitin', your Mam an' me.'
Waitin', they was, Madam. Waitin' for me. I cried and cried, it was so wonderful. My Mam and Dad. I couldn't 'ardly believe it. It was all so new, so different. Well, then my Dad 'e took my 'and and we walked up that hill. But I couldn't walk. I was so tired. I tells my Dad I was too tired to walk to Heaven that time. An' 'e says to sit down a while an' rest. So I did, an' I must 'a gone to sleep. And I waked up in such a lovely place, an' there was my Mam and Dad. They looked so sort of 'appy...and young-like. But they said it wasn't really 'Eaven yet. It was so beautiful, I thought it must be.
Helen writes: "At last she paused. Her face was radiant. She was still in her servant's dress, only now she looked different, taller somehow and serene. I was so moved, I could only let her know my joy and happiness."
Helen - Bless you, you're on your way, you're on your way!
Nan - Yes, Madam. Yes, Madam. It was you tellin' me about bein' dead an' death, an' about getting a doctor. That made me think. Oh, I'm so glad you did, now, an' I'm happy with my Mam an' my Dad, an' the others. That's why I asked if I could come back, just to say it's all right, it's all right. An' I'm sorry I thought your cottage was my cottage, because it ain't. Oh, Madam, I'm so glad I knows now I'm dead. It's all so different from wot I thought. I ain't afraid no more. I'm 'appy, Madam. I'm 'appy. An' thank you for helping me. Here's my Dad. Yes, I'm comin', Dad...I'm comin'
And she was gone. Helen wondered if she would ever see her, or be aware of her again.
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