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The Daisy Chain or Aspirations

Chapter I.4
They may not mar the deep repose
Of that immortal flower:
Though only broken hearts are found
To watch her cradle by,
No blight is on her slumbers found,
No touch of harmful eye.
LYRA INNOCENTIUM.
Such a strange sad Sunday! No going to church, but all the poor children
moving in awe and oppression about the house, speaking under their breath,
as they gathered in the drawing-room. Into the study they might not go, and
when Blanche would have asked why, Tom pressed her hand and shuddered.
Etheldred was allowed to come and look at Margaret, and even to sit in the
room for a little while, to take the place of Miss Winter; but she was not
sensible of sufficient usefulness to relieve the burden of fear and
bewilderment in the presence of that still, pale form; and, what was almost
worse, the sight of the familiar objects, the chair by the fire, the sofa, the
books, the work-basket, the letter- case, the dressing things, all these were
too oppressive. She sat crouched up, with her face hidden in her hands, and
the instant she was released, hastened back to Norman. She was to tell him
that he might go into the room, but he did not move, and Mary alone went in
and out with messages.
Dr. May was not to be visited, for he was in the same half-conscious state,
apparently sensible only of bodily suffering, though he answered when
addressed, and no one was trusted to speak to him but Flora and Ernescliffe.
The rest wore through the day as best they might. Harry slept a good deal,
Ethel read to herself, and tried to get Norman to look at passages which she
liked, Mary kept the little ones from being troublesome, and at last took them
to peep behind the school-room blinds for Richard's coming.
There was a simultaneous shout when, at four o'clock, they caught sight of
him, and though, at Ethel's exclamation of wonder, Mary and Tom hung their
heads at having forgotten themselves, the association of gladness in seeing
Richard was refreshing; the sense of being desolate and forsaken was
relieved, and they knew that now they had one to rely on and to comfort
them.
Harry hastened to open the front door, and Richard, with his small trim
figure, and fresh, fair young face, flushed, though not otherwise agitated, was
among them, almost devoured by the younger ones, and dealing out quiet
caresses to them, as he caught from the words and looks of the others that at
 
 
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