Heartsease or Brother's Wife
Herself, almost heartbroken now,
Was bent to take the vestal vow,
And shroud, within St. Hilda's gloom,
Her wasted hopes and withered bloom.--SCOTT
Violet, when called to consult with her father-in-law in the outer room, felt a sort
of blank apprehension and consternation at the idea of being separated from her
children; and a moment's reflection satisfied her that in one case at least she
might rightly follow the dictates of her own heart. She said that she thought
Johnnie could not be spared by his papa.
Lord Martindale's eye followed hers, and through the half-closed door saw
Johnnie, sitting on the bed, reading to his father, who listened with amused,
though languid attention.
'I believe you are right,' he said; 'though I wish I had the boy in the country doing
no lessons. He puts me more in mind of his uncle every day.'
'One of the highest compliments Johnnie has ever had,' said Violet, colouring
with pleasure; 'but I am afraid to trust him away from me and Mr. Harding in the
winter because of his croup.'
'Ah! then it cannot be,' he answered; 'and I do not think I would take him from his
father now, but his sisters must come; they would be too much for you without
Violet could only be mournfully thankful, and the project was in time laid before
'Send my little girls away!' said he, looking discomfited. 'Oh! if you wish to keep
them'--joyfully exclaimed Violet.
'I thought that if Theodora went home, Violet would hardly be able to manage
them,' said Lord Martindale.
'If they are in her way,' said Arthur, and his eyes smiled at her, knowing what her
decision would be.
'Oh! no, no! It was their grandpapa's kindness.' Johnnie and Helen here peeped
into the room; Arthur beckoned to them, and said, 'How should you like to go into
the country with Aunt Theodora?'
'To see grandmamma and the peacock?' said Lord Martindale. Johnnie clung to
his mother's hand, piteously whispering, 'Oh! don't send me away, mamma--I
would try to bear it if I ought.'
Helen climbed the bed, and sturdily seated herself close to her papa. 'I shall not
desert my father and mother,' said she, with great dignity, drawing up her head.
'No more you shall, my little heroine!' said Arthur, throwing his arm round her,
while she glanced with saucy triumph at her grandfather.
In the silence of night, when Arthur was alone with his father, he said, 'If those
little girls go away now, they will never remember me.'
To this plea there could be no reply; for though the danger was no longer
imminent, it was still extremely doubtful whether he would ever leave his room