Heartsease or Brother's Wife HTML version

Chapter II.4
The inmost heart of man if glad
Partakes a livelier cheer,
And eyes that cannot but be sad
Let fall a brightened tear.
Since thy return, through days and weeks
Of hope that grew by stealth,
How many wan and faded cheeks
Have kindled into health.--WORDSWORTH'S Ode to May
'I say,' called Arthur, standing half in and half out of the French window, as Sarah
paced round the little garden, holding a parasol over her charge, 'if that boy kicks
up a row at night, don't mind Mrs. Martindale. Carry him off, and lock the door.
D'ye hear?'
'Yes, sir,' said the unmoved Sarah.
'Stern, rugged nurse!' said Arthur, drawing in his head. 'Your boy ought to be
virtue itself, Violet. Now for you, John, if you see her at those figures, take them
away. Don't let her think what two and two make.'
'You are like one of my little sisters giving her doll to the other to keep,' said
'Some folks say it is a doll, don't they, John?'
'Well, I will try to take as much care of your doll as she does of hers,' said John,
'Good-bye, then! I wish I could stay!'
Violet went to the gate with him, while John stood at the window watching the
slender girlish figure under the canopy of clematis, as she stood gazing after her
husband, then turned and slowly paced back again, her eyes on the ground, and
her face rather sad and downcast.
That pretty creature was a strange new charge for him, and he dreaded her
pining almost as he would have feared the crying of a child left alone with him.
'Well, Violet,' said he, cheerfully, 'we must do our best. What time would you like
to take a drive?'
'Any time, thank you,' said she, gratefully, but somewhat plaintively; 'but do not
let me be a trouble to you. Sarah is going to hire a chair for me to go down to the
beach. I only want not to be in your way.'
'I have nothing to do. You know I am no great walker, and I am glad of an excuse
for setting up my carriage. Shall we dine early, and go out when the sun is not so
'Thank you! that will be delightful. I want to see those beautiful places that I was
too tired to look at on Saturday.'
Sarah's rounds again brought her in sight; Violet crossed the grass, and the next
moment was under the verandah with the little long-robed chrysalis shape in her
arms, declaring he was growing quite good, and getting fat already; and though
to John's eyes the face was as much as ever like a very wizened old man, he