Heartsease or Brother's Wife HTML version

Chapter II.7
Sweeter 'tis to hearken
Than to bear a part,
Better to look on happiness
Than to carry a light heart,
Sweeter to walk on cloudy hills,
With a sunny plain below,
Than to weary of the brightness
Where the floods of sunshine flow.--ALFORD
One morning John received a letter from Constantinople, which he had scarcely
opened before he exclaimed, 'Ha! what does he mean? Given up his
appointment! Coming home! It is just like him. I must read you what he says, it is,
so characteristic.'
'You must have been provoked at my leaving you all this time in doubt what to do
with our precious tour, but the fact is, that I have been making a fool of myself,
and as the Crusaders are the only cover my folly has from the world, I must make
the most of them. I give out that my literary affairs require my presence; but you,
as the means of putting me into my post, deserve an honest confession. About
six weeks ago, my subordinate, Evans, fell sick--an estimable chicken- hearted
fellow. In a weak moment, I not only took his work on my hands, but bored myself
by nursing him, and thereby found it was a complaint only to be cured by my
'Shoes! exclaimed Violet. John read on.
'It was a dismal story of an engagement to a clergyman's daughter; her father
just dead, she reduced to go out as a governess, and he having half nothing of
his own, mending the matter by working himself into a low fever, and doing his
best to rid her of all care on his account. Of course I rowed him well, but I soon
found I had the infection--a bad fit of soft-heartedness came over me.'
'Oh!' cried Violet, ‘he gives up for this poor man's sake.'
'I thought all peace was over if I was to see poor Evans enacting the enamoured
swain every day of my life, for the fellow had not the grace to carry it off like a
man--besides having his business to do; or, if he should succeed in dying, I
should not only be haunted by his ghost, but have to convey his last words to the
disconsolate governess. So, on calculation, I thought trouble would be saved by
giving notice that I was going home to publish the Crusaders, and sending him to
fetch his bride, on whose arrival I shall bid a long farewell to the Grand Turk. I
fancy I shall take an erratic course through Moldavia and some of those out-of-
the-way locations, so you need not write to me again here, nor think of me till you
see me about the end of August. I suppose about that time Theodora will have
finished the course of severe toil reserved for young ladies every spring, so I
shall come straight home expecting to see you all.'
'Home; does that mean Martindale?' said Violet.
'Yes. He has never looked on any place but Brogden as his home.'
'You don't think he repents of what he has done?'