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more fair—more spotless; but as he looked, the reflection that her days were numbered, smote him with overpowering anguish. He went to her; she opened her eyes with a sad smile, and attempted to raise herself:
“ Brother, have you begun harvest yet?” she inquired.”
“ Not yet in earnest,” said he ; “ but how do you find yourself now?"
Nearly well again,” she answered. “ But tell Jane to make the tea at five o'clock, for the Doctor will not let me come down to-day.”
Arthur felt half choaked with emotion, and kissed her forehead in silence.
“ I feel strangely altered,” she said, “ since morning; it must be with having been bled, for I see my arm is bandaged.” She presently added, “ Brother, look at the flowers when you go down stairs, if you please, for I am afraid they have not been watered this morning ; tomorrow I will change some of the geraniums into larger pots.
He assured her he would look to them.
“I am very cold,” said she ; “ winter will not be unwelcome to me-I shall be glad to see it come back, and then Arthur” (she smiled again) “ we shall have the great log burning once more in the broad kitchen chimney, and the heat, and the sparks, and the corn, parching, under Deborah's eye, in the ashes—and the roasted hickory-nuts, and apples—and the mince-pies baking on the hearth-will not all this be delightful ? I am very cold; I should be glad to get up before some right large blazing logs now.”
“My dear sister," said Arthur, “I will tell Doctor
Bathurst that you are cold; perhaps you are not wrapped up sufficiently;” and he began tucking the shawl under her arms, and drawing it more closely about her neck.
“ That will do, thank you; yes, you may tell the Doctor that I am cold, and please say to him, also, that a good fire is all I want to make me well.”
“ I will tell him so,” said Arthur; and, kissing her again, he withdrew.
“ That coldness—that perfect unconsciousness of her danger are, my dear sir, unfavourable symptoms, said the Doctor a short time afterwards to Arthur; “ I must not disguise from you the truth of the case. "
“She says she has felt strangely altered since this morning.”
“ She certainly has not altered for the better I am sorry to say,” rejoined the Doctor. “Let me take the liberty to pour you a glass of wine, Mr. Lee. These are the periods, sir, when the strength of our fortitude is tried to the utmost. Believe me, I feel for you. I myself have passed through the ordeal more than once or twice, having lost a mother, a wife, and a son.
The Doctor was a wealthy man, of much skill, it was said, and of delightful manners. His cheerful kindness to the patient, and his sympathy for the anxious friends of the patient, pleased wherever he practised; then he had such a fund of anecdotes of medicine, from the old and new world, that those who could afford it, would willingly pay their fee for the sake of his conversation. He was the sole Doctor of the village in which he lived; and as there were few houses, and fewer illnesses, he had the more leisure to devote to those persons who required his services. In age he was about fifty, of the middle height,
stout, but remarkably active, and always well dressed in black. His countenance was portly, and good-humoured; his eyes quick; his mouth large but pleasing; and his forehead broad. He was a Doctor whom every one was delighted to honour-young and old, man, woman, and child, in the village, and its neighbourhood, sounded his praises. He was so entirely the gentleman, that the poorest labourers of the farms met the same politeness and affability from him, as their employers did. He attended them as carefully, took as much pains to support their spirits under the pressure of disease, and showed them as much sympathy as though they had each been capable of putting hundreds into his pocket. He had emigrated from Britain many years before the date of this story, with no other design, he affirmed, than that of seeing nature under a new aspect ; for the Doctor was nearly as much distinguished for his taste as for his politeness, and took great pleasure in unfrequented scenes, where he could dream and talk of the busy world, but neither see it, nor move in it. He was accustomed to say, pleasantly, concerning this partiality of his, that he was a lover of nature, and preferred the society of his mistress when retired from the public eye.
Arthur would have again sought Clinton, though he knew not what he could say to him; but Doctor Bathurst detained the former without obviously seeming to do so, and gradually talked him into something like serenity. An hour passed—tea was brought in—and still the Doctor's stories were not exhausted, nor had the Pastor returned from his solitary ramble. Arthur proposed walking to meet him, and the Doctor consented at once, but said, as he rose, and looked around for his hat, “ I
will first look in upon my charge, if agreeable, and see how she is.”
“ Do so,” said Arthur ; " and if possible, do give me some hopeful report of her.”
“ Nothing will make me more happy than to be able to do so,” said the Doctor, bowing in his quick and friendly manner as he left the room.
He found her worse, but longing to get up, which, to soothe her, he promised she should do on the following morning. While the Doctor was with her on this occasion, and also during the ensuing night, her fancy, all astray, dwelt upon the coming of winter, and the homedelights of that season, with pertinacity. Her grandfather, who came up to see her after his mournful walk, was compelled to leave the room, he was so affected to hear her reckon up, with such preciseness, the months and weeks that would elapse before next Christmas, while she entertained not the slightest idea that before that anniversary of the Redeemer's birth came, she would be the lonely occupant of a grave.
About midnight she fell into a sleep-a trance-like sleep-from which the Doctor hoped much; but in an hour she started up with so much violence that she had thrown herself out of bed before she was awake. Jane was sitting on a chair, half asleep, behind the curtains ; the Doctor and the Pastor had gone to lie down; and Arthur and Clinton were up, below.
My dear Viss Lee !—my dear Lucy! were you dreaming, that you started so ?” asked Jane, throwing her arm around the sick girl, intending to assist her back into bed.
Dreaming ?-yes,” answered Lucy, loosening herself
from Jane's arm, and walking firmly across the floor to the looking-glass, “ I think I have been dreaming—and such a dream! Let me see how I look.” Here she drew a chair to the dressing-table, and sat down carelessly, as though she had been in perfect health, deliberately taking off her cap, and shaking her brown hair about her, preparatory to putting it in order.
“ Lucy-dearest Lucy!--come back to bed !” entreated Jane, in vain : “ Pray, Miss Lee, come back, or you will get cold !"
Lucy smiled; and said, “ Don't be afraid of my health, Jane—I am very well;" then went on brushing and combing her hair, and arranging it in her own simple way, without paying any regard to Jane's remonstrances and petitions. At length the latter, stepping out on tiptoe, hurried to the door of the room where the Doctor and Pastor were enjoying their brief repose, and knocked.
“ How is she ?” anxiously inquired the Pastor, coming to the door in his chintz dressing-gown.
“ Miss Lee is up, sir, sitting at the looking-glass," faltered Jane, with looks of agitation.
• Up! bless me-how is that? before daylight !-so seriously ill! Doctor-Doctor-do
hear this?—Lucy is up sitting at her glass !”
“ You do not say so! I had hoped that her sleep would have done her good ; but if this is the case she has not been at all benefitted by it. I am sorry-very sorry,” said the Doctor, drawing on his coat, and coming out. “ Does she look wild at all—have you observed her face?”
Jane answered, “ She looks very bright, and handsome, and I never saw her with so much colour before ; her eyes are very sparkling, and she is quite lively; but