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   Chapter 30 No.30

The Trial, Or, More Links of the Daisy Chain By Charlotte M. Yonge Characters: 38346

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:04


Oh, when its flower seems fain to die,

The full heart grudges smile or sigh

To aught beside, though fair and dear;

Like a bruised leaf, at touch of fear,

Its hidden fragrance love gives out.-Lyra Innocentum

'The letters at last! One to Ethel, and three to Leonard! Now for it, Ethel!'

Ethel opened-read-ran out of the room without a word, and sought her father in his study, where she laid before him Tom's letter, written from Massissauga the day after his arrival.

'Dear Ethel,

'I have found my darling, but too late to arrest the disease-the work of her brother's perverseness and wrong-headedness. I have no hope of saving her; though it will probably be a matter of several months-that is, with care, and removal from this vile spot.

'I am writing to Henry, but I imagine that he is too much charmed with his present prospects to give them up; and in her angelic self-sacrifice she insists on Leonard's not coming out. Indeed, there would be no use in his doing so unless she leaves this place; but should no unforeseen complication supervene, it is my full persuasion that she could be removed, safely make the voyage, and even be spared for this summer among us. Surely my father will not object! It will be but a short time; and she has suffered so much, so piteously needs love and cherishing, that it is not in him to refuse. He, who consented to Margaret's engagement, cannot but feel for us. I would work for him all my life! I would never cast a thought beyond home, if only once hallowed by this dear presence for ever so short a time. Only let the answers be so cordial as to remove all doubts or scruples; and when they are sent prepare for her. I would bring her as quickly as her health permits. No time must be lost in taking her from hence; and I wait only for the letters to obtain her consent to an immediate marriage. Furnish the house at once; I will repay you on my return. There is £200 for the first floor, sitting, and bedrooms; for the rest the old will do. Only regard the making these perfect; colouring pink-all as cheerful and pleasant as money can accomplish. If Flora will bear with me, get her to help you; or else Mary, if Cheviot forgives me. Only don't spare cost. I will make it up some way, if you find more wanted. I saw an invalid sofa, an improvement on Margaret's, which I will write to Gaspard to send from Paris. If you could only see the desolateness of the house where she has wasted away these three years, you would long to make a bower of bliss for her. I trust to you. I find I must trust everything to you. I cannot write to my father; I have made nine beginnings, and must leave it to you. He has comforted her, he knows her sorrows; he could not see her and bid me leave her. Only there must be no hesitation. That, or even remonstrance, would prevent her from consenting; and as to the objections, I cannot know them better than I do. Indeed, all this may be in vain; she is so near Heaven, that I dare not talk to her of this; but I have written to Leonard, dwelling chiefly on the chance of bringing her to him. Her desire to keep him from attempting to come out will I trust be an inducement; but if you could only see her, you would know how irreverent it seems to persecute one so nearly an angel with such matters. If I may only tend her to the last! I trust to you. This is for my father.

'Ever yours,

'THOMAS MAY.'

The last sentence referred to a brief medical summary of her symptoms, on a separate paper.

'Can this be Tom?' was the Doctor's exclamation. 'Poor boy! it is going very hard with him!'

'This would soften it more than anything else could,' said Ethel.

'Oh yes! You write. Yes, and I'll write, and tell him he is free to take his own way. Poor child! she would have been a good girl if she had known how. Well, of all my eleven children that Tom should be the one to go on in this way!'

'Poor dear Tom! What do you think of his statement of her case? Is she so very ill?'

Dr. May screwed up his face. 'A sad variety of mischief,' he said; 'if all be as he thinks, I doubt his getting her home; but he is young, and has his heart in it. I have seen her mother in a state like this-only without the diseased lungs. You can't remember it; but poor Ward never thought he could be grateful enough after she was pulled through. However, this is an aggravated case, and looks bad-very bad! It is a mournful ending for that poor boy's patience-it will sink very deep, and he will be a sadder man all his days, but I would not hinder his laying up a treasure that will brighten as he grows older.'

'Thank you, papa. I shall tell him what you say.'

'I shall write-to her I think. I owe him something for not proving that it is all as a study of pneumonia. I say, Ethel, what is become of the "Diseases of Climate?"' he added, with a twinkle in his eye.

'In the nine beginnings.'

'And how about the Massissauga Company?'

'You heartless old worldly-minded father!' said Ethel. 'When you take to prudence for Tom, what is the world coming to?'

'Into order,' said the Doctor, shaking himself into the coat she held for him. 'Tom surrendered to a pet patient of mine. Now for poor Leonard! Good-bye, young people! I am off to Cocksmoor!'

'Please take me, grandpapa,' cried Dickie, hopping into the hall.

'You, you one-legged manikin! I'm going over all the world; and how are you to get home?'

'On Leonard's back,' said the undaunted Dickie.

'Not so, master: poor Leonard has news here that will take the taste of nonsense out of his mouth.'

'I am his friend,' said Dickie, with dignity.

'Then your friendship must not disturb him over his letters. And can you sit in the carriage and twirl your thumbs while I am at Fordham?'

'I shall not twirl my thumbs. I shall make out a problem on my ship chess-board.'

'That's the boy who was sent from the Antipodes, that he might not be spoilt!' quoth Aubrey, as the Doctor followed the child into the carriage.

'Granting reasonable wishes is not spoiling,' said Ethel.

'May the system succeed as well with Dickie as with-' and Aubrey in one flourish indicated Gertrude and himself.

'Ay, we shall judge by the reception of Ethel's tidings!' cried Gertrude. 'Now for it, Ethel. Read us Tom's letter, confute the engineer, hoist with his own petard.'

'Now, Ethel, confute the Daisy, the green field daisy-the simple innocent daisy, deluded by "Diseases of Climate."'

'Ethel looks as concerned as if it were fatal truth,' added Gertrude.

'What is it?' asked Aubrey. 'If Henry Ward has gone down in a monitor at Charleston, I'll forgive him.'

'Not that,' said Ethel; 'but we little thought how ill poor Ave is.'

'Dangerously?' said Aubrey, gravely.

'Not perhaps immediately so; but Tom means to marry at once, that he may have a chance of bringing her home to see Leonard.'

'Another shock for Leonard,' said Aubrey, quite subdued, 'why can't he have a little respite?'

'May they at least meet once more!' said Ethel; 'there will be some comfort in looking to that!'

'And what a fellow Tom is to have thought of it,' added Aubrey. 'Nobody will ever dare to say again that he is not the best of the kit of us! I must be off now to the meet: but if you are writing, Ethel, I wish you would give her my love, or whatever he would like, and tell him he is a credit to the family. I say, may I tell George Rivers?'

'Oh yes; it will soon be in the air; and Charles Cheviot will be down on us!'

Away went Aubrey to mount the hunter that George Rivers placed at his service.

Gertrude, who had been struck dumb, looked up to ask, 'Then it is really so?'

'Indeed it is.'

'Then,' cried Gertrude, vehemently, 'you and he have been deceiving us all this time!'

'No, Gertrude, there was nothing to tell. I did not really know, and I could not gossip about him.'

'You might have hinted.'

'I tried, but I was clumsy.'

'I hate hints!' exclaimed the impetuous young lady; 'one can't understand them, and gets the credit of neglecting them. If people have a secret attachment, they ought to let all their family know!'

'Perhaps they do in Ireland.'

'You don't feel one grain for me, Ethel,' said Gertrude, with tears in her eyes. 'Only think how Tom led me on to say horrid things about the Wards; and now to recollect them, when she is so ill too-and he-' She burst into sobs.

'My poor Daisy! I dare say it was half my fault.'

Gertrude gave an impatient leap. 'There you go again! calling it your fault is worse than Charles's improving the circumstance. It was my fault, and it shall be my fault, and nobody else's fault, except Tom's, and he will hate me, and never let me come near her to show that I am not a nasty spiteful thing!'

'I think that if you are quiet and kind, and not flighty, he will forget all that, and be glad to let you be a sister to her.'

'A sister to Ave Ward! Pretty preferment!' muttered Gertrude.

'Poor Ave! After the way she has borne her troubles, we shall feel it an honour to be sisters to her.'

'And that chair!' broke out Gertrude. 'O, Ethel, you did out of malice prepense make me vow it should be for Mrs. Thomas May.'

'Well, Daisy, if you won't suspect me of improving the circumstance, I should say that finishing it for her would be capital discipline.'

'Horrid mockery, I should say,' returned Gertrude, sadly; 'a gaudy rose-coloured chair, all over white fox-gloves, for a person in that state-'

'Poor Tom's great wish is to have her drawing-room made as charming as possible; and it would be a real welcome to her.'

'Luckily,' said Gertrude, breaking into laughter again, 'they don't know when it began; how in a weak moment I admired the pattern, and Blanche inflicted it and all its appurtenances on me, hoping to convert me to a fancy-work-woman! Dear me, pride has a fall! I loved to answer "Three stitches," when Mrs. Blanche asked after my progress.'

'Ah, Daisy, if you did but respect any one!'

'If they would not all be tiresome! Seriously, I know I must finish the thing, because of my word.'

'Yes, and I believe keeping a light word that has turned out heavy, is the best help in bridling the tongue.'

'And, Ethel, I will really try to be seen and not heard while I am about the work,' said Gertrude, with an earnestness which proved that she was more sorry than her manner conveyed.

Her resolution stood the trying test of a visit from the elder married sisters; for, as Ethel said, the scent of the tidings attracted both Flora and the Cheviots; and the head-master endeavoured to institute a kind of family committee, to represent to the Doctor how undesirable the match would be, entailing inconveniences that would not end with the poor bride's life, and bringing at once upon Tom a crushing anxiety and sorrow. Ethel's opinion was of course set aside by Mr. Cheviot, but he did expect concurrence from Mrs. Rivers and from Richard, and Flora assented to all his objections, but she was not to be induced to say she would remonstrate with her father or with Tom; and she intimated the uselessness thereof so plainly, that she almost hoped that Charles Cheviot would be less eager to assail the Doctor with his arguments.

'No hope of that,' said Ethel, when he had taken leave. 'He will disburthen his conscience; but then papa is well able to take care of himself! Flora, I am so thankful you don't object.'

'No indeed,' said Flora. 'We all know it is a pity; but it would be a far greater pity to break it off now-and do Tom an infinity of harm. Now tell me all.'

And she threw herself into the subject in the homelike manner that had grown on her, almost in proportion to Mary's guest-like ways and absorption in her own affairs.

Six weeks from that time, another hasty note announced that Dr. and Mrs. Thomas May and Ella were at Liverpool; adding that Averil had been exceedingly ill throughout the voyage, though on being carried ashore, she had so far revived, that Tom hoped to bring her home the next day; but emotion was so dangerous, that he begged not to be met at the station, and above all, that Leonard would not show himself till summoned.

Dr. May being unavoidably absent, Ethel alone repaired to the newly-furnished house for this strange sad bridal welcome.

The first person to appear when the carriage door was opened was a young girl, pale, tall, thin, only to be recognized by her black eyes. With a rapid kiss and greeting, Ethel handed her on to the further door, where she might satisfy the eager embrace of the brother who there awaited her; while Tom almost lifted out the veiled muffled figure of his bride, and led her up-stairs to the sitting-room, where, divesting her of hat, cloak, muff, and respirator, he laid her on the sofa, and looked anxiously for her reassuring smile before he even seemed to perceive his sister or left room for her greeting.

The squarely-made, high-complexioned, handsome Averil Ward was entirely gone. In Averil May, Ethel saw delicately refined and sharpened features, dark beautiful eyes, enlarged, softened, and beaming with perilous lustre, a transparently white blue-veined skin, with a lovely roseate tint, deepening or fading with every word, look, or movement, and a smile painfully sweet and touching, as first of the three, the invalid found voice for thanks and inquiries for all.

'Quite well,' said Ethel. 'But papa has been most unluckily sent for to Whitford, and can't get home till the last train.'

'It may be as well,' said Tom: 'we must have perfect quiet till after the night's rest.'

'May I see one else to-night?' she wistfully asked.

'Let us see how you are when you have had some coffee and are rested.'

'Very well,' she said, with a gentle submission, that was as new a sight as Tom's tenderness; 'but indeed I am not tired; and it is so pretty and pleasant. Is this really Dr. Spencer's old house? Can there be such a charming room in it?'

'I did not think so,' said Tom, looking in amazement at the effect produced by the bright modern grate with its cheerful fire, the warm delicate tints of the furniture, the appliances for comfort and ornament already giving a home look.

'I know this is in the main your doing, Ethel; but who was the hand?'

'All of us were hands,' said Ethel; 'but Flora was the moving spring. She went to London for a week about it.'

'Mrs. Rivers! Oh, how good!' said Averil, flushing with surprise; then raising herself, as her coffee was brought in a dainty little service, she exclaimed, 'And oh, if it were possible, I should say that was my dear old piano!'

'Yes,' said Ethel, 'we thought you would like it; and Hector Ernescliffe gave Mrs. Wright a new one for it.'

This was almost too much. Averil's lip trembled, but she looked up into her husband's face, and made an answer, which would have been odd had she not been speaking to his thought.

'Never mind! It is only happiness and the kindness.' And she drank the coffee with an effort, and smiled at him again, as she asked, 'Where is Ella?'

'At our house,' said Ethel; 'we mean her to be there for the present.'

Knowing with whom Ella must be, and fearing to show discontent with the mandate of patience, Averil again began to admire. 'What a beautiful chair! Look, Tom! is it not exquisite? Whose work is it?'

'Gertrude's.'

'That is the most fabulous thing of all,' said Tom, walking round it. 'Daisy! Her present, not her work?'

'Her work, every stitch. It has been a race with time.' The gratification of Averil's flush and smile was laid up by Ethel for Gertrude's reward; but it was plain that Tom wanted complete rest for his wife, and Ethel only waited to install her in the adjoining bed-room, which was as delightfully fitted up as the first apartment. Averil clung to her for the instant they were alone together, and whispered, 'Oh, it is all so sweet! Don't think I don't feel it! But you see it is all I can do for him to be as quiet as I can! Say so, please!'

Ethel felt the throb of the heart, and knew to whom she was to say so; but Tom's restless approaching step made Averil detach herself, and sink into an arm-chair. Ethel left her, feeling that the short clasp of their arms had sealed their sisterhood here and for ever.

'It is too sad, too beautiful to be talked about,' she said to Gertrude, who was anxiously on the watch for tidings.

Obedient as Averil was, she had not understood her husband's desire that she should seek her pillow at once. She was feeling brisk and fresh, and by no means ready for captivity, and she presently came forth again with her soft, feeble, noiseless step; but she had nearly retreated again, feeling herself mistaken and bewildered, for in the drawing-room stood neither Tom nor his sisters, but a stranger-a dark, grave, thoughtful man of a singularly resolute and settled cast of countenance. The rustle of her dress made him look up as she turned. 'Ave!' he exclaimed; and as their eyes met, the light in those brown depths restored the whole past. She durst not trust herself to speak, as her head rested on his shoulder, his arms were round her; only as her husband came on the scene with a gesture of surprise, she said, 'Indeed, I did not mean it! I did not know he was here.'

'I might have known you could not be kept apart if I once let Leonard in,' he said, as he arranged her on the sofa, and satisfied himself that there were no tokens of the repressed agitation that left such dangerous effects. 'Will you both be very good if I leave you to be happy together?' he presently added, after a few indifferent words had passed.

Averil looked wistfully after him, as if he were wanted to complete full felicity even in Leonard's presence. How little would they once have thought that her first words to her brother would be, 'Oh, was there ever any one like him?'

'We owe it all to him,' said Leonard.

'So kind,' added Averil, 'not to be vexed, though he dreaded our meeting so much; and you see I could not grieve him by making a fuss. But this is nice!' she added, with a sigh going far beyond the effect of the homely word.

'You are better. Ella said so.'

'I am feeling well to-night. Come, let me look at you, and learn your face.'

He knelt down beside her, and she stroked back the hair, which had fulfilled his wish that she should find it as long, though much darker than of old. Posture and action recalled that meeting, when her couch had been his prison bed, and the cold white prison walls had frowned on them; yet even in the rosy light of the cheerful room there was on them the solemnity of an approaching doom.

'Where is the old face?' Averil said. 'You look as you did in the fever. Your smile brings back something of yourself. But, oh, those hollow eyes!'

'Count Ugolino is Dr. May's name for me: but, indeed, Ave, I have tried to fatten for your inspection.'

'It is not thinness,' she said, 'but I had carried about with me the bright daring open face of my own boy. I shall learn to like this better now.'

'Nay, it is you and Ella that are changed. O, Ave, yo

u never let me know what a place you were in.'

'There were many things better than you fancy,' she answered; 'and it is over-it is all gladness now.'

'I see that in your face,' he said, gazing his fill. 'You do look ill indeed; but, Ave, I never saw you so content.'

'I can't help it,' she said, smiling. 'Every moment comes some fresh kindness from him. The more trouble I give him the kinder he is. Is it not as if the tempest was over, and we had been driven into the smoothest little sunshiny bay?'

'To rest and refit,' he said, thoughtfully.

'For me, "the last long wave;" and a most gentle smooth one it is,' said Averil; 'for you to refit for a fresh voyage. Dear Leonard, I have often guessed what you would do.'

'What have you guessed?'

'Only what we used to plan, in the old times after you had been at Coombe, Leonard.'

'Dear sister! And you would let me go!'

'Our parting is near, any way,' she said, her eye turning to the print from Ary Scheffer's St. Augustine and Monica. 'Whoever gave us that, divined how we ought to feel in these last days together.'

'It was Richard May's gift,' said Leonard. 'Ave, there was nothing wanting but your liking this.'

'Then so it is?' she asked.

'Unless the past disqualifies me,' he said. 'I have spoken to no one yet, except little Dickie. When I thought I ought to find some present employment, and wanted to take a clerkship at Bramshaw's, Dr. May made me promise to wait till I had seen you before I fixed on anything; but my mind is made up, and I shall speak now-with your blessing on it, Ave.'

'I knew it!' she said.

He saw it was safer to quit this subject, and asked for Henry.

'He sent his love. He met us at New York. He is grown so soldierly, with such a black beard, that he is more grown out of knowledge than any of us, but I scarcely saw him, for he was quite overset at my appearance, and Tom thought it did me harm. I wish our new sister would have come to see me.

'Sister!'

'Oh, did you not know? I thought Tom had written! She is a Virginian lady, whose first husband was a doctor, who died of camp-fever early in the war. A Federal, of course. And they are to be married as soon as Charleston has fallen.'

Leonard smiled. And Averil expressed her certainty that it had fallen by that time.

'And he is quite Americanized?' asked Leonard. 'Does he return to our own name! No? Then I do not wonder he did not wish for me. Perhaps he may yet bear to meet me, some day when we are grown old.'

'At least we can pray to be altogether, where one is gone already' said Averil. 'That was the one comfort in parting with the dear Cora-my blessing through all the worst! Leonard, she would not go to live in the fine house her father has taken at New York, but she is gone to be one of the nurses in the midst of all the hospital miseries. And, oh, what comfort she will carry with her!'

Here Tom returned, but made no objection to her brother's stay, perceiving that his aspect and voice were like fulness to the hungry heart that had pined so long-but keeping all the others away; and they meanwhile were much entertained by Ella, who was in joyous spirits; a little subdued, indeed, by the unknown brother, but in his absence very communicative. Gertrude was greatly amused with her account of the marriage, in the sitting-room at Massissauga, and of Tom's being so unprepared for the brevity of the American form, that he never knew where he was in the Service, and completed it with a puzzled 'Is that all?'

Averil had, according to Ella, been infinitely more calm and composed. 'She does nothing but watch his eyes,' said Ella; 'and ever since we parted from Cora, I have had no one to speak to! In the cabin he never stirred from sitting by her; and if she could speak at all, it was so low that I could not hear. School will be quite lively.'

'Are you going to school?'

'Oh yes! where Ave was. That is quite fixed; and I have had enough of playing third person,' said Ella, with her precocious Western manner. 'You know I have all my own property, so I shall be on no one's hands! Oh, and Cora made her father buy all Ave's Massissauga shares-at a dead loss to us of course.'

'Well,' said Gertrude, 'I am sorry Tom is not an American share-holder. It was such fun!'

'He wanted to have made them all over to Henry; but Cora was determined; and her father is making heaps of money as a commissary, so I am sure he could afford it. Some day, when the rebellion is subdued, I mean to go and see Cora and Henry and his wife,' added Ella, whose tinge of Americanism formed an amusing contrast with Dickie's colonial ease-especially when she began to detail the discomforts of Massissauga, and he made practical suggestions for the remedies of each-describing how mamma and he himself managed.

The younger ones had all gone to bed, Richard had returned home, and Ethel was waiting to let her father in, when Leonard came back with the new arrivals.

'I did not think you would be allowed to stay so late,' said Ethel.

'We did not talk much. I was playing chants most of the time; and after she went to bed, I stayed with Tom.'

'What do you think of her?'

'I cannot think. I can only feel a sort of awe. End as it may, it will have been a blessed thing to have had her among us like this.'

'Yes, it ought to do us all good. And I think she is full of enjoyment.'

'Perfect enjoyment!' repeated Leonard. 'Thank God for that!'

After some pause, during which he turned over his pocket-book, as if seeking for something, he came to her, and said, 'Miss May, Averil has assented to a purpose that has long been growing up within me-and that I had rather consult you about than any one, because you first inspired it.'

'I think I know the purpose you mean,' said Ethel, her heart beating high.

'The first best purpose of my boyhood,' he said. 'If only it may be given back to me! Will you be kind enough to look over this rough copy?'

It was the draught of a letter to the Missionary Bishop, Mr. Seaford's diocesan, briefly setting forth Leonard's early history, his conviction, and his pardon, referring to Archdeacon May as a witness to the truth of his narrative.

'After this statement,' he proceeded, 'it appears to me little short of effrontery to offer myself for any share of the sacred labour in which your Lordship is engaged; and though it had been the wish of the best days of my youth, I should not have ventured on the thought but for the encouragement I received from Mr. Seaford, your Lordship's chaplain. I have a small income of my own, so that I should not be a burthen on the mission, and understanding that mechanical arts are found useful, I will mention that I learnt shoemaking at Milbank, and carpentry at Portland, and I would gladly undertake any manual occupation needed in a mission. Latterly I was employed in the schoolmaster's department; and I have some knowledge of music. My education is of course, imperfect, but I am endeavouring to improve myself. My age is twenty-one; I have good health, and I believe I can bring power of endurance and willingness to be employed in any manner that may be serviceable, whether as artisan or catechist.'

'I don't think they will make a shoemaker of you,' said Ethel, with her heart full.

'Will they have me at all? There will always be a sort of ticket-of-leave flavour about me,' said Leonard, speaking simply, straight-forwardly, but without dejection; 'and I might be doubtful material for a mission.'

'Your brother put that in your head.'

'He implied that my case half known would be a discredit to him, and I am prepared for others thinking so. If so, I can get a situation at Portland, and I know I can be useful there; but when such a hope as this was opened to me again, I could not help making an attempt. Do you think I may show that letter to Dr. May?'

'O, Leonard, this is one of the best days of one's life!'

'But what,' he asked, as she looked over the letter, 'what shall I alter?'

'I do not know, only you are so business-like; you do not seem to care enough.'

'If I let myself out, it would look like unbecoming pressing of myself, considering what I am; but if you think I ought, I will say more. I have become so much used to writing letters under constraint, that I know I am very dry.'

'Let papa see it first,' said Ethel. 'After all, earnestness is best out of sight.'

'Mr. Wilmot and he shall decide whether I may send it,' he said; 'and in the meantime I would go to St. Augustine's, if they will have me.'

'I see you have thought it all over.'

'Yes. I only waited to have spoken with my sister, and she-dear, dear Ave-had separately thought of such a destination for me. It was more than acquiescence, more than I dared to hope!'

'Her spirit will be with you, wherever she is! And,' with a sudden smile, 'Leonard, was not this the secret between you and Dickie?'

'Yes,' said Leonard, smiling too; 'the dear little fellow is so fresh and loving, as well as so wise and discreet, that he draws out all that is in one's heart. It has been a new life to me ever since he took to me! Do you know, I believe he has been writing a letter of recommendation of me on his own account to the Bishop; I told him he must enclose it to his father if he presumed to send it, though he claims the Bishop as his intimate friend.'

'Ah,' said Ethel, 'papa is always telling him that they can't get on in New Zealand for want of the small archdeacon, and that, I really think, abashes him more than anything else.'

'He is not forward, he is only sensible,' said Leonard, on whose heart Dickie had far too fast a hold for even this slight disparagement not to be rebutted. 'I had forgotten what a child could be till I was with him; I felt like a stock or a stone among you all.'

Ethel smiled. 'I was nearly giving you "Marmion", in remembrance of old times, on the night of the Christmas-tree,' she said; 'but I did not then feel as if the "giving double" for all your care and trouble had begun.'

'The heart to feel it so was not come,' said Leonard; 'now since I have grasped this hope of making known to others the way to that Grace that held me up,'-he paused with excess of feeling-'all has been joy, even in the recollection of the darkest days. Mr. Wilmot's words come back now, that it may all have been training for my Master's work. Even the manual labour may have been my preparation!' His eyes brightened, and he was indeed more like the eager, hopeful youth she remembered than she had ever hoped to see him; but this brightness was the flash of steel, tried, strengthened, and refined in the fire-a brightness that might well be trusted.

'One knew it must be so,' was all she could say.

'Yes, yes,' he said, eagerly. 'You sent me words of greeting that held up my faith; and, above all, when we read those books at Coombe, you put the key of comfort in my hand, and I never quite lost it. Miss May,' he added, as Dr. May's latch-key was heard in the front door, 'if ever I come to any good, I owe it to you!'

And that was the result of the boy's romance. The first tidings of the travellers next morning were brought near the end of breakfast by Tom, who came in looking thin, worn, and anxious, saying that Averil had called herself too happy to sleep till morning, when a short doze had only rendered her feeble, exhausted, and depressed.

'I shall go and see her,' said Dr. May; 'I like my patients best in that mood.'

Nor would the Doctor let his restless, anxious son do more than make the introduction, but despatched him to the Hospital; whence returning to find himself still excluded, he could endure nothing but pacing up and down the lawn in sight of his father's head in the window, and seeking as usual Ethel's sympathy.

There was some truth in what Charles Cheviot had said. Wedlock did enhance the grief and loss, and Tom found the privilege of these months of tendance more heart-wringing than he had anticipated, though of course more precious and inestimable. Moreover, Averil's depression had been a phase of her illness which had not before revealed itself in such a degree.

'Generally,' he said, 'she has talked as if what she looks to were all such pure hope and joy, that though it broke one's heart to hear it, one saw it made her happy, and could stand it. Fancy, Ethel, not an hour after we were married, I found her trying the ring on this finger, and saying I should be able to wear it like my father! It seemed as if she would regret nothing but my sorrow, and that my keeping it out of sight was all that was needful to her happiness. But to-day she has been blaming herself for-for grieving to leave all so soon, just as her happiness might have been beginning! Think, Ethel! Reproaching herself for unthankfulness even to tears! It might have been more for her peace to have remained with her where she had no revival of these associations, if they are only pain to her.'

'Oh no, no, Tom. It only proves the pleasure they do give her. You know, better than I do, that there must be ups and downs, failures of spirits from fatigue when the will is peaceful and resigned.'

'I know it. I know it with my understanding, Ethel, but as to reasoning about her as if she was anybody else, the thing is mere mockery. What can my father be about?' he added, for the twentieth time. 'Talking to her in the morning always knocks her up. If he had only let me warn him; but he hurried me off in his inconsiderate way.'

At last, however, the head disappeared, and Tom rushed indoors.

'So, Tom, you have made shorter work of twenty-five patients than I of one.'

'I'll go again,' said poor Tom, in the desperation of resolute meekness, 'only let me see how she is.'

'Let Ethel go up now. She is very cheery except for a little headache.'

While Ethel obeyed, Dr. May began a minute interrogation of his son, so lengthened that Tom could hardly restrain sharp impatient replies to such apparent trifling with his agony to learn how long his father thought he could keep his treasure, and how much suffering might be spared to her.

At last Dr. May said, 'I may be wrong. Your science is fresher than mine; but to me there seem indications that the organic disease is in the way of being arrested. Good health of course she cannot have; but if she weathers another winter, I think you may look for as many years of happiness with her as in an ordinary case.'

It was the first accent of hope since the hysteric scream that had been his greeting, and all his reserve and dread of emotion: could not prevent his covering his face with his hands, and sobbing aloud. 'Father, father,' he said, 'you cannot tell what this is to me!'

'I can in part, my boy,' said the Doctor, sadly.

'And,' he started up and walked about the room, 'you shall have the whole treatment. I will only follow your measures. No one at New York saw the slightest hope of checking it.'

'They had your account, and you hardly allowed enough for the hysterical affection. I do not say it is certainty-far less, health.'

'Any way, any way, if I may only have her to lie and look at me, it is happiness unlooked for! You don't think I could have treated her otherwise?'

'No. Under His blessing you saved her yourself. You would have perceived the change if she had been an indifferent person.'

Tom made another turn to the door, and came back still half wild, and laid his face on his arms upon the table. 'You tell her,' he said, 'I shall never be able-'

Knocking at Averil's door, Dr. May was answered by a call of 'Tom.'

'Not this time, my dear. He is coming, but we have been talking you over. Ave, you have a very young doctor, and rather too much interested.'

'Indeed!' she said, indignantly; 'he has made me much better.'

'Exactly so, my dear; so much better that he agrees with me that he expressed a strong opinion prematurely.'

'They thought the same at New York,' she said, still resolved on his defence.

'My dear, unless you are bent on growing worse in order to justify his first opinion, I think you will prove that which he now holds. And, Ave, it was, under Providence, skill that we may be proud of by which he has subdued the really fatal disorder. You may have much to undergo, and must submit to a sofa life and much nursing, but I think you will not leave him so soon.'

There was a long pause; at last she said, 'O, Dr. May, I beg your pardon. If I had known, I would never-'

'Never what, my dear?'

'Never have consented! It is such a grievous thing for a professional man to have a sick wife.'

'It is exactly what he wanted, my dear, if you will not fly at me for saying so. Nothing else could teach him that patients are not cases but persons; and here he comes to tell you what he thinks of the trouble of a sick wife.'

'Well,' said Dr. May, as he and Ethel walked away together, 'poor young things, they have a chequered time before them. Pretty well for the doctor who hated sick people, Wards, and Stoneborough; but, after all, I have liked none of our weddings better. I like people to rub one another brighter.'

'And I am proud when the least unselfish nature has from first to last done the most unselfish things. No one of us has ever given up so much as Tom, and I am sure he will be happy in it.'

More can hardly be said without straying into the realms of prediction; yet such of our readers as are bent on carrying on their knowledge of the Daisies beyond the last sentence, may be told that, to the best of our belief, Leonard's shoemaking is not his foremost office in the mission, where he finds that fulness of hopeful gladness which experience shows is literally often vouchsafed to those who have given up home, land, and friends, for the Gospel's sake. His letters are the delight of more than one at Stoneborough; and his sister, upon her sofa, is that home member of a mission without whom nothing can be done-the copier of letters, the depot of gifts, the purveyor of commissions, the maker of clothes, the collector of books, the keeper of accounts-so that the house still merits the name of the S. P. G. office, as it used to be called in the Spenserian era. But Mrs. Thomas May is a good deal more than this. Her sofa is almost a renewal of the family centre that once Margaret's was; the region where all tidings are brought fresh for discussion, all joys and sorrows poured out, the external influence that above all has tended to soften Gertrude into the bright grace of womanhood. Mary Cheviot and Blanche Ernescliffe cannot be cured of a pitying 'poor Tom'-as they speak of 'the Professor'-in which title the awkward sound of Dr. Tom has been merged since an appointment subsequent to the appearance of the "Diseases of Climate". But every one else holds that not his honours as a scientific physician, his discoveries, and ably-written papers-not even his father's full and loving confidence and gratitude, give Professor May as much happiness as that bright-eyed delicate wife, with whom all his thoughts seem to begin and end.

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