« VorigeDoorgaan »
privilege of attending his master ness of death will calm all merely that he was installed in the sick- human emotion. Give that obediroom. And truly no better choicę ent little heart of yours into God's could have been made, for he com- keeping, and then go to your duty bined the physical strength of the as in his sight, and I am not afraid. man with the gentleness of woman,
The world will probably look upon and every service was rendered what it may consider a breach of with the tenderness of that love propriety with much less leniency which Mr. Carlisle had the rare than the angels. But human repower of inspiring and retaining in spect, always bad enough as a modependents. But only Assunta was tive, is never so wholly bad as able to quiet his wandering mind, when it destroys the purity of our and control the wild vagaries of de- intention, and consequently the lirium. It was a painful duty to merit of our charity, at a time strive to still the ringing of those when, bending beneath the burden bells, once so full of harmony, now of some heavy trial, we are the "jangled, out of tune, and harsh." more closely surrounded by God's But, once recognizing where her love and protection. Follow the duty lay, she would have perform- pillar of the cloud, my child. It is ed it at any cost to herself.
leading you away from the world.” Her good and devoted friend, “Father," said Assunta, and her F. du Pont, came to see her the voice trembled, while tears filled second day of the illness, and her eyes, “ do you think he will die? brought sympathy and consolation Indeed, it is not for my own sake in his very presence.
She had so that I plead for his life. He is not longed for him that his coming prepared to go. Will you not pray seemed an echo of her earnest for him, father? Oh! how gladly wish-his words of comfort would I give my life as the price answer to her prayers.
of his soul, and trust myself to the " Father," she said at length," you mercy of God!" know all-the past and the present
“ And it is to that mercy you circumstances. May I not, in the must trust him, my poor child. present necessity, and in spite of Do you, then, think that his soul is the past, forget all but the debt of dearer to you than to Him who gratitude I owe, and devote myself died to save it? You must have to my dear friend and guardian? more confidence. But I have not You know,” she added, as if there yet told you the condition I must were pain in the remembrance, “it impose upon your position as was Mr. Carlisle's care for me that
It is implicit obedience to exposed him to the fever. I would the physician, and a faithful use of nurse him as a sister, if I might." all the precautions he recommends.
"My dear child," replied the While charity does sometimes depriest, “I do not see how you mand the risk or even the sacrifice could do less. From my know- of life, we have no right to take the ledge of Mrs. Grey, I should con- matter into our own hands. I do sider her entirely unfit for the ser- not apprehend any danger for you, vices of a sick-room. It seems, if you will follow the good doctor's therefore, your plain duty to per- directions. I will try to see him form this act of charity. I think, on my way home.
on my way home. Do you promy child, that the possible near- mise ?"
father,” said Assunta, sympathy he felt as they entered with a faint smile; "you leave me softly, and stood where they would no alternative.”
not attract the attention of those “But I have not yet put a limit restless eyes. Mr. Carlisle was to your obedience. You are wakeful and watchful, but comparcited and worn out this afternoon, atively quiet. It was pitiful to see and I will give you a prescription, with what rapid strides the fever was It is a lovely day, almost spring- undermining that manly strength, like; and you are now, this very and hurrying on towards the terri. moment, to go down into the gar- ble moment of suspense when life den for half an hour-and the and death confront each other in time must be measured by your momentary combat. With an earnwatch, and not by your feelings. est prayer to God, the priest again Take your rosary with you, and raised the heavy damask curtain, as you walk up and down the and softly retired, followed by Mrs. orange avenue let no more serious Grey. thoughts enter your mind than the “Will he recover ?" was her easweet companionship of the Bless- ger question. ed Mother may suggest. You will Dear madam,” replied he, “I come back stronger, I promise think there is much room for hope, you."
though I cannot deny that he is a “You are so kind, father," said very sick man. For your encourAssunta gratefully. “If you knew agement, I can tell you that I have what a blessing you bring with you, seen many patients recover in such you would take compassion on me, cases when it seemed little short of and come soon again.”
miraculous. It will be many days “I shall
come very soon, my yet before you must think of giving child; and meanwhile I shall pray up good hope. And remember for you, and for all, most fervently. that all your strength will be need. But, come, we will walk together ed.” as far as the garden. And summon- Oh!” said Mrs. Grey impuling the priest who had accompa- sively, "I could not live if it were nied him, and who had been look- not for Assunta. She is an angel." ing at the books in the library dur- “Yes, she is a good child," said ing this conversation, they were the priest kindly; "and she is now about to descend the stairs, when going to obey some orders that I Mrs. Grey came forward to meet have given her, that she may rethem.
turn to you more angelic than “O F. du Pont!” she exclaim
Dear madam, you have my ed impetuously, “will you not deepest sympathy. I wish that I come and look at my poor brother, could serve you otherwise than by and tell me what you think of words." him? They say priests know so The two priests bade Assunta much." And then she burst into good-by at the garden gate. F. tears.
Joseph's heart was full of pity for F. Joseph tried to soothe her the young girl, whose act of sacriwith hopeful words, and, when they "fice in surrendering human happireached the door of the darkened ness for conscience' sake had been chamber, she was again calm. The followed by so severe a trial. But, good priest's face expressed the remembering the blessed mission
of suffering to a soul like hers, he and that you had gone to church. prayed-not that her chalice might But the more I talked and explainive less bitter, but that strength ed, the worse he got; until I was aight be given her to accept it as perfectly disheartened, and came from the hand of a loving Father. to meet you." And with the ready
And so Assunta, putting aside tears streaming down her pretty every thought of self, took her place face, she did look the very picture is the sick-room. She had a double of discouragement. in motive in hanging her picture of
“ Poor Clara,” said Assunta, genSt. Catherine, from which she was tly embracing her, “it is hard for rever separated, at the foot of the you to bear all this, you are so little i-ed. It was a favorite with Mr. accustomed to sickness. But you Carlisle, and often in his delirium ought not to contradict Mr. Carlisle, is eyes would rest upon it, in al- for it is all real to him, and opposimost conscious recognition; while tion only excites him. I can never 10 Assunta it was a talisman-a con- soothe him except by agreeing want reminder of her mother, and with him.” of those dying words which now “But where does he get such seemed stamped in burning letters strange ideas?" asked the sobbing in her heart and brain.
Clara. Mrs. Grey often visited the room;
“Where do our dreams come hat she controlled her own agita- from ?” said Assunta.
“I think, 1191 so little, and was so unreason- however, that this fancy can be ive in the number of her sugges- traced to the night when we visited 6.ins, that she generally left the the Colosseum, and sat for a long ...tient worse than she found him. time on the steps of the cross in Issunta recognized her right to the centre. You know it is a black
me and go as she pleased, but she one,” she added, smiling, to reasuld not regret her absence when sure her friend. And now, Clara, ser presence was almost invariably I really think you ought to order eductive of evil consequences. the close carriage, and take a drive The first Sunday, Assunta thought this morning.
It would do you the might venture to assist at Mass good, and you will not be needed ** the nearest church ; it would be at all for the next two or three rength to her body as well as her hours.'' ul. She was not absent from the Mrs. Grey's face brightened per01:34 an hour, yet she was met onceptibly. It was the very thing for itt return by Clara, in a state of which she was longing, but she seat excitement.
would not propose it herself for * Assunta, we have had a dread- fear it would seem heartless. To in time," she said. “ Severn woke seem, and not to be, was her motto. - just after you left, and literally But would not people think it reamed for help, because, he said, very strange,” she asked, “and eat black cross had fallen on Severn so sick?” *), and you would be crushed to "I do not believe that people sath unless some one would assist will know or think anything about
to raise it. In his efforts, he it," answered Assunta patiently. www.most out of bed. I reasoned “ You can take Amalie with you for * nim, and told him it was all company, and drive out on the CamPlache; that there was no cross, pagna." And having lightened one
VOL. XX. -5
load, she turned towards her guar- “Well, whoever he is," said Mr. diari's room.
Carlisle, “he did not hurry much Are you not coming to break- when I called-and now I am so fast?" said Mrs. Grey.
tired. And Clara said there was no “Presently." And Assunta hasten- cross; that I was mistaken. I am ed to the bedside. Giovanni had never mistaken," he answered, in been entirely unable to control the something of his old, proud voice. panic which seemed to have taken “She ought to know that.” possession of Mr. Carlisle. He Assunta did not answer, but she continued his cries for assistance, sat patiently soothing her guardian and the suffering he evidently en- into quiet at least, if not sleep. dured showed how real the fancy Once he looked at her, and said, was to him.
"My precious child is safe;" but, “Dear friend," said the young
as she smiled, he laughed aloud. girl, pushing back the hair from his and then shut his eyes again. burning forehead, "look at me. An hour she remained beside the Do you not see that I am safe?" bed, and then she crept softly from
Mr. Carlisle turned towards her, the room, to take what little breakand, in sudden revulsion of feeling, fast she could find an appetite for, burst into a wild laugh.
and to assist Mrs. Grey in prepar“I knew," he said, "that, if they ing for her drive. would only come and help me, I
With such constant demands should succeed. But it was very upon her sympathy and strength, it heavy; it has made me very tired.” is not strange that Assunta's cour
“Yes, you have had hard work, age sometimes failed. But, when and it was very kind in you to un- the physician assured her that her dertake it for me. But now you guardian's life was, humanly speakmust rest. It would make me very ing, in her hands, she determined unhappy if I thought that my safety that no thought or care for herseli had caused any injury to you."
should interfere with the performAnd while she was talking, As- ance of her duty. sunta had motioned to Giovanni Mrs. Grey's drive having proved to bring the soothing medicine the an excellent tonic, she was tempted doctor had left, and she succeeded to repeat it often-always with a in administering it to her patient, protest and with some misgivings .almost without his knowledge, so
of conscience, which were, howengrossed was he in his present ever, set aside without difficulty. vagary.
It was a singular coincidence that But there was a cross?" he Mr. Sinclair should so often be asked.
found riding on horseback in the “Yes," she answered, in a mean- same direction. A few words only ing tone, “a very heavy one; but would be exchanged—of enquiry it did not crush me."
for the sufferer, of sympathy for his “Who lifted it?" he asked ea- sister. But somehow, as the days gerly.
went by, the tone in which the A powerful hand raised its weight words of sympathy were expressed from my shoulders, and I have the grew more tender, and conveyed promise of His help always, if I the impression of something held should ever be in trouble again, and back out of respect and by an only will cry to Him.”
effort. The manner, too—whics
showed so little, and yet seemed to a human soul, could hardly have repress so much-began to have the been more dissimilar. eflect of heightening the color in It was the fifteenth day of Mr. Mrs. Grey's pretty face, and soften- Carlisle's illness when Assunta was ing a little the innocent piquancy summoned from his bedside by of her youthful ways. It was
Mrs. Grey, who desired to see her sonder that, loving the brightness for a few moments in her own and sunshine of life, and regarding room. As the young girl entered, with a sort of dread the hush and she found her sitting before a bright solemnity which pervade the house wood-fire; on her lap was an of sickness, and which may at any quisite bouquet fresh from fairymoment become the house of land, or—what is almost the same inourning, she should have allowed thing-an Italian garden. In her ter anxiety for her brother to di- hand she held a card, at which she ninish a little under the influ- was looking with a somewhat perence of the new thought and feel- turbed expression. ing which were gaining possession
* Assunta, love," she exclaimed, now, in the absence of all other ex- “I want you to tell me what to do. itement. And yet she loved her See these lovely flowers that Mr. brother as much as such hearts Sinclair has just sent me, with this in love-as deeply as any love card. Read it." And as she handed fan penetrate in which there is no her the dainty card, whose perfume pirit of sacrifice-love's foundation seemed to rival that of the flowers, and its crown. If the illness had the color mounted becomingly into Lasted but a day, or at the most two, her cheeks. There were only these she could have devoted herself with words written: parent unselfishness and tender "I have brought a close carriage, assiduity to the duties of nursing. and hope to persuade you to drive But, as day after day went on with a little while this afternoon. I will out much perceptible change in anxiously await your reply in the Mr. Carlisle, her first emotion sub- garden. Yours, S-." ided into a sort of graceful per- “Well?" questioned Clara, a litexity at finding herself out of her tle impatiently, for Assunta's face cement.
And by the time the was very grave. second week was drawing toivards “Dear Clara," she replied, “I its close-with the new influence have no right to advise you, and I of Mr. Sinclair's sympathy second- certainly shall not question the ing the demands of her own na- propriety of anything you do. 1 are—she began to act like any was only thinking whether I had other sunflower, when it “turns to not better tell you that I see a the god that it loves.” And yet change in your brother this aftershe continued to be very regular in noon, and I fear it is for the der visits to the sick-room, and
I am longing for the docvery affectionate to Assunta ; but tor's visit." it may be greatly doubted whether “Do you really think he is she lost many hours' sleep. Surely worse?" exclaimed Clara. “ He it would be most unjust to judge looks to me just the same. But Clara Grey and Assunta Howard perhaps I had better not go out. I by the same standard. Undine, had a little headache, and thought before and after the possession of a drive might do me good. But,