The Daisy Chain or Aspirations
Oh! the golden-hearted daisies,
Witnessed there before my youth,
To the truth of things, with praises
Of the beauty of the truth.--E. B. BROWNING.
"Margaret, see here."
The doctor threw into her lap a letter, which made her cheeks light up.
Mr. Ernescliffe wrote that his father's friend, Captain Gordon, having been
appointed to the frigate Alcestis, had chosen him as one of his lieutenants,
and offered a nomination as naval cadet for his brother. He had replied that
the navy was not Hector's destination, but, as Captain Gordon had no one
else in view, had prevailed on him to pass on the proposal to Harry May.
Alan wrote in high terms of his captain, declaring that he esteemed the
having sailed with him as one of the greatest advantages he had ever
received, and adding that, for his own part, Dr. May needed no promise from
him to be assured that he would watch over Harry like his own brother. It
was believed that the Alcestis was destined for the South American station.
"A three years' business," said Dr. May, with a sigh. "But the thing is done,
and this is as good as we can hope."
"Far better!" said Margaret. "What pleasure it must have given him! Dear
Harry could not sail under more favourable circumstances."
"No, I would trust to Ernescliffe as I would to Richard. It is kindly done, and I
will thank him at once. Where does he date from?"
"From Portsmouth. He does not say whether he has seen Harry."
"I suppose he waited for my answer. Suppose I enclose a note for him to give
to Harry. There will be rapture enough, and it is a pity he should not have the
benefit of it."
The doctor sat down to write, while Margaret worked and mused, perhaps on
outfits and new shirts--perhaps on Harry's lion-locks, beneath a blue cap and
gold band, or, perchance, on the coral shoals of the Pacific.
It was one of the quiet afternoons, when all the rest were out, and which the
doctor and his daughter especially valued, when they were able to spend one
together without interruption. Soon, however, a ring at the door brought an
impatient exclamation from the doctor; but his smile beamed out at the
words, "Miss Rivers." They were great friends; in fact, on terms of some