The Daisy Chain, or Aspirations
The heart may ache, but may not burst;
Heaven will not leave thee, nor forsake.
Hector and Tom finished their holidays by a morning's shooting at the
Grange, Dr. May promising to meet them, and let them drive him home.
Meta was out when he arrived; and, repairing to the library, he found Mr.
Rivers sitting by a fire, though it was early in September, with the newspaper
before him, but not reading. He looked depressed, and seemed much
disappointed at having heard that George and Flora had accepted some
further invitations in Scotland, and did not intend to return for another month.
Dr. May spoke cheerfully of the hospitality and kindness they had met, but
failed to enliven him, and, as if trying to assign some cause for his vexation,
he lamented over fogs and frosts, and began to dread an October in Scotland
for Flora, almost as if it were the Arctic regions.
He grew somewhat more animated in praising Flora, and speaking of the
great satisfaction he had in seeing his son married to so admirable a person.
He only wished it could be the same with his daughter.
"You are a very unselfish father," said Dr. May. "I cannot imagine you without
your little fairy."
"It would be hard to part," said Mr. Rivers, sighing; "yet I should be relieved
to see her in good hands, so pretty and engaging as she is, and something of
an heiress. With our dear Flora, she is secure of a happy home when I am
gone, but still I should be glad to have seen--" and he broke off thoughtfully.
"She is so sensible, that we shall see her make a good choice," said Dr. May,
smiling; "that is, if she choose at all, for I do not know who is worthy of her."
"I am quite indifferent as to fortune," continued Mr. Rivers. "She will have
enough of her own."
"Enough not to be dependent, which is the point," said Dr. May, "though I
should have few fears for her any way."
"It would be a comfort," harped on Mr. Rivers, dwelling on the subject, as if
he wanted to say something, "if she were only safe with a man who knew
how to value her and make her happy. Such a young man as your Norman,
now--I have often thought--"
Dr. May would not seem to hear, but he could not prevent himself from
blushing as crimson as if he had been the very Norman, as he answered,