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"But tell me how it happened," insisted Cassius Hasta.

source:Xiangmen Youxiangwangedit:arttime:2023-12-05 16:05:59

'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--

'Come and have some breakfast, you look quite worn out'

'I cannot stay,' said he, sitting down, however. 'She must not miss me, or all chance would be over. You don't mind the door being open?'

'No, indeed. Is she sensible now?'

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