Heartsease or Brother's Wife
So she had prayed, and He who hears,
Through Seraph songs the sound of tears,
From that beloved babe had ta'en
The fever and the beating pain,
And more and more smiled Isobel
To see the baby sleep so well.--E. B. BROWNING (Isobel's Child)
On a bright cold afternoon the next spring, Theodora was setting out for a walk,
when she saw a carriage driving up the avenue, and Arthur emerging from it.
Joyously she sprang forward--'Arthur! Arthur! this is pleasant. How glad I am.
This is like old times.'
'Ay, I thought you would be ready for me. I have had a cold, and I am come home
to shake off the end of it.'
'A cold--not a bad one, I hope?'
'Not very. I wanted Violet to come too, but the boy is poorly.'
'Oh! I hope there is not much the matter?'
'Only teeth, I believe. He is desperately fretful, and she can't attend to anything
'Well, I hope you are come for a good long visit.'
'I can stay a week.'
'That's right, it will do you good. I was just going to write to you. I have a great
mind to go back with you, if I shall not be in the way.'
'Not at all. It will be famous having you; but what makes you come? To gratify
'I have many reasons. I've got Charlie Layton elected to the Deaf and Dumb
Asylum, and I must take him there.'
'I'm not going to take him! 'Tis enough to have to carry about one's own babies,
without other people's.'
'We'll settle that,' said Theodora. 'Will you walk with me! There is no one at
home, and I am stupefied with reading French novels to my aunt. Such horrid
things! She has lost her taste for the natural, and likes only the extravagant. I
have been at it ever since luncheon, and at last, when the wretches had all
charcoaled themselves to death, I came out to breathe fresh air and purity.'
'Where's the Piper!'
'Piper no longer. Have you not heard?'
'Not a word since Percy announced that my aunt and Harrison had come to a
split about the orchids.'
'You have great things to hear. Harrison got a magnificent appointment, as he
calls it--situation is not grand enough--to some botanic gardens; splendid salary.
Nothing hindered the wedding but Miss Piper's dread of my aunt. It was not only
that she could not tell her, but she could not face her after it was told, though I
offered to undertake that. So the upshot was, that for very cowardice she
preferred stealing the match and taking French leave. It was a silly piece of
business; but I could not help that, and they were accountable to no one. I