The Heir of Redclyffe
Beneath a tapering ash-tree's shade
Three graves are by each other laid.
Around the very place doth brood
A strange and holy quietude.--BAPTISTERY
Late on the afternoon of the 6th of March, Mary Ross entered by the half-opened front
door at Hollywell, just as Charles appeared slowly descending the stairs.
'Well! how is she?' asked Mary eagerly.
'Poor little dear!' he answered, with a sigh; 'she looks very nice and comfortable.'
'What, you have seen her?'
'I am at this moment leaving her room.'
'She is going on well, I hope?'
'Perfectly well. There is one comfort at least,' said Charles, drawing himself down the last
'Dear Amy! And the babe--did you see it?'
'Yes; the little creature was lying by her, and she put her hand on it, and gave one of those
smiles that are so terribly like his; but I could not have spoken about it for the world.
Such fools we be!' concluded Charles, with an attempt at a smile.
'It is healthy?'
'All a babe ought to be, they say, all that could be expected of it, except the not being of
the right sort, and if Amy does not mind that, I don't know who should,' and Charles
deposited himself on the sofa, heaving a deep sigh, intended to pass for the conclusion of
'Then you think she is not disappointed?'
'Certainly not. The first thing she said when she was told it was a girl, was, "I am so
glad!" and she does seem very happy with it, poor little thing! In fact, mamma thinks she
had so little expected that it would go well with herself, or with it, that now it is all like a
There was a silence, first broken by Charles saying, 'You must be content with me--I can't
send for anyone. Bustle has taken papa and Charlotte for a walk, and Laura is on guard