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"Hasta!" he exclaimed. "I would know that voice were I

source:Xiangmen Youxiangwangedit:arttime:2023-12-05 16:38:15

'Was not she?' I never saw that dear face without its sweet smile, come when I would. I have never heard a complaint. I have left her to herself, madman as I was, when she was unwell and anxious! But-- oh! if she could only recover, she should see--Ha! Sarah, can I come?'

'Yes, sir, she is asking for you; but, if you please, sir, Mr. Harding says you must come very quiet . She seems wandering, and thinking you are not come home, sir,' said Sarah, with a grisly satisfaction in dealing her blow home.

John tried to rectify the confusion in the work-box with a sort of reverential care; not able to bear to leave it in disorder, whether its mistress were ever to open it again or not, yet feeling it an intrusion to meddle with her little feminine hoards of precious trifles.

'Poor Arthur!' said he to himself, 'he may fairly be acquitted of all but his usual inconsiderateness towards one too tender for such treatment. He deserves more pity than blame. And for her--thank Heaven for the blessing on them that mourn. Innocent creature, much will be spared her; if I could but dwell on that rather than on the phantom of delight she was, and my anticipations of again seeing the look that recalls Helen. If Helen was here, how she would be nursing her!'

John saw his brother no more that evening--only heard of Violet 'as barely kept alive, as it seemed, by his care.' Each report was such that the next must surely be the last; and John sat waiting on till his servant insisted on his going to bed, promising to call him if his brother needed him.

The night passed without the summons, and in the morning there was still life. John had been down-stairs for some little time, when he heard the medical man, who had spent the night there, speaking to Arthur on the stairs. 'A shade of improvement' was the report. 'Asleep now; and if we can only drag her through the next few days there may be hope, as long as fever does not supervene.'

'Thank Heaven!' said John, fervently. 'I did not venture to hope for this.'

But Arthur was utterly downcast, and could not take heart. It was his first real trouble, and there was little of the substance of endurance in his composition. That one night of watching, grief, and self-reproach, had made his countenance so pale and haggard, and his voice so dejected and subdued, that John was positively startled, as he heard his answer--

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