WHEREIN THE HAPPINESS OF OLIVER AND HIS FRIENDS, EXPERIENCES
A SUDDEN CHECK
Spring flew swiftly by, and summer came. If the village had been beautiful at first it was
now in the full glow and luxuriance of its richness. The great trees, which had looked
shrunken and bare in the earlier months, had now burst into strong life and health; and
stretching forth their green arms over the thirsty ground, converted open and naked spots
into choice nooks, where was a deep and pleasant shade from which to look upon the
wide prospect, steeped in sunshine, which lay stretched beyond. The earth had donned
her mantle of brightest green; and shed her richest perfumes abroad. It was the prime and
vigour of the year; all things were glad and flourishing.
Still, the same quiet life went on at the little cottage, and the same cheerful serenity
prevailed among its inmates. Oliver had long since grown stout and healthy; but health or
sickness made no difference in his warm feelings of a great many people. He was still the
same gentle, attached, affectionate creature that he had been when pain and suffering had
wasted his strength, and when he was dependent for every slight attention, and comfort
on those who tended him.
One beautiful night, when they had taken a longer walk than was customary with them:
for the day had been unusually warm, and there was a brilliant moon, and a light wind
had sprung up, which was unusually refreshing. Rose had been in high spirits, too, and
they had walked on, in merry conversation, until they had far exceeded their ordinary
bounds. Mrs. Maylie being fatigued, they returned more slowly home. The young lady
merely throwing off her simple bonnet, sat down to the piano as usual. After running
abstractedly over the keys for a few minutes, she fell into a low and very solemn air; and
as she played it, they heard a sound as if she were weeping.
'Rose, my dear!' said the elder lady.
Rose made no reply, but played a little quicker, as though the words had roused her from
some painful thoughts.
'Rose, my love!' cried Mrs. Maylie, rising hastily, and bending over her. 'What is this? In
tears! My dear child, what distresses you?'
'Nothing, aunt; nothing,' replied the young lady. 'I don't know what it is; I can't describe
it; but I feel--'
'Not ill, my love?' interposed Mrs. Maylie.
'No, no! Oh, not ill!' replied Rose: shuddering as though some deadly chillness were
passing over her, while she spoke; 'I shall be better presently. Close the window, pray!'