Heartsease or Brother's Wife HTML version

Chapter II.6
Thy precious things, whate'er they be,
That haunt and vex thee, heart and brain,
Look to the Cross, and thou shall see
How thou mayst turn them all to gain.--Christian Year
All went well and smoothly at Ventnor, until a sudden and severe attack of some
baby ailment threatened to render fruitless all Mr. Martindale's kind cares.
Violet's misery was extreme, though silent and unobtrusive, and John was
surprised to find how much he shared it, and how strong his own personal
affection had become for his little nephew; how many hopes he had built on him
as the point of interest for his future life; the circumstances also of the baptism
giving him a tenderness for him, almost a right in him such as he could feel in no
other child.
Their anxiety did not last long enough for Arthur to be sent for; a favourable
change soon revived the mother's hopes; and the doctor, on coming down-stairs
after his evening's visit, told John that the child was out of danger for the present;
but added that he feared there were many more such trials in store for poor Mrs.
Martindale; he thought the infant unusually delicate, and feared that it would
hardly struggle through the first year.
John was much shocked, and sat in the solitary drawing-room, thinking over the
disappointment and loss, severely felt for his own sake, and far more for the poor
young mother, threatened with so grievous a trial at an age when sorrow is
usually scarcely known, and when she had well-nigh sunk under the ordinary
wear and tear of married life. She had been so utterly cast down and wretched at
the sight of the child's suffering, that it was fearful to imagine what it would be
when there would be no recovery.
'Yes!' he mused with himself; 'Violet has energy, conscientiousness, high
principle to act, but she does not know how to apply the same principle to enable
her to endure. She knows religion as a guide, not as a comfort. She had not
grown up to it, poor thing, before her need came. She wants her mother, and
knows not where to rest in her griefs. Helen, my Helen, how you would have
loved and cherished her, and led her to your own precious secret of patience and
peace! What is to be done for her? Arthur cannot help her; Theodora will not if
she could, she is left to me. And can I take Helen's work on myself, and try to
lead our poor young sister to what alone can support her? I must try--mere
humanity demands it. Yes, Helen, you would tell me I have lived within myself too
long. I can only dare to speak through your example. I will strive to overcome my
reluctance to utter your dear name.'
He was interrupted by Violet coming down to make tea. She was now happy,
congratulating herself on the rapid improvement in the course of the day, and
rejoicing that John and the doctor had dissuaded her from sending at once for
'You were quite right, she said, 'and I am glad now he was not here. I am afraid I
was very fretful; but oh! you don't know what it is to see a baby so ill.'