The Daisy Chain or Aspirations HTML version

Chapter I.14
To thee, dear maid, each kindly wile
Was known, that elder sisters know,
To check the unseasonable smile,
With warning hand and serious brow.
From dream to dream with her to rove,
Like fairy nurse with hermit child;
Teach her to think, to pray, to love,
Make grief less bitter, joy less wild.
Sir Matthew Fleet's visit seemed like a turning-point with the May family,
rousing and giving them revived hopes. Norman began to shake off his
extreme languor and depression, the doctor was relieved from much of the
wearing suffering from his hurt, and his despondency as to Margaret's
ultimate recovery had been driven away. The experiment of taking her up
succeeded so well, that on Sunday she was fully attired, "fit to receive
company." As she lay on the sofa there seemed an advance toward recovery.
Much sweet coquetry was expended in trying to look her best for her father;
and her best was very well, for though the brilliant bloom of health was gone,
her cheeks had not lost their pretty rounded contour, and still had some
rosiness, while her large bright blue eyes smiled and sparkled. A screen shut
out the rest of the room, making a sort of little parlour round the fire, where
sundry of the family were visiting her after coming home from church in the
afternoon. Ethel was in a vehement state of indignation at what had that day
happened at school. "Did you ever hear anything like it! When the point was,
to teach the poor things to be Christians, to turn them back, because their
hair was not regulation length!"
"What's that! Who did?" said Dr. May, coming in from his own room, where
he had heard a few words.
"Mrs. Ledwich. She sent back three of the Cocksmoor children this morning. It
seems she warned them last Sunday without saying a word to us."
"Sent them back from church!" said the doctor.
"Not exactly from church," said Margaret.
"It is the same in effect," said Ethel, "to turn them from school; for if they did
try to go alone, the pew-openers would drive them out."
"It is a wretched state of things!" said Dr. May, who never wanted much
provocation to begin storming about parish affairs. "When I am churchwarden