The Daisy Chain or Aspirations HTML version

Chapter II.17
Do not fear: Heaven is as near,
By water, as by land.--LONGFELLOW.
The fifth of May was poor Harry's eighteenth birthday, and, as usual, was a
holiday. Etheldred privately thought his memory more likely to be respected,
if Blanche and Aubrey were employed, than if they were left in idleness; but
Mary would have been wretched had the celebration been omitted, and a
leisure day was never unwelcome.
Dr. Spencer carried off Blanche and Aubrey for a walk, and Ethel found Mary
at her great resort--Harry's cupboard--dusting and arranging his books, and
the array of birthday gifts, to which, even to-day, she had not failed to add
the marker that had been in hand at Christmas. Ethel entreated her to come
down, and Mary promised, and presently appeared, looking so melancholy,
that, as a sedative, Ethel set her down to the basket of scraps to find
materials for a tippet for some one at Cocksmoor, intending, as soon as
Margaret should be dressed, to resign her morning to the others, invite Miss
Bracy to the drawing-room, and read aloud.
Gertrude was waiting for her walk, till nurse should have dressed Margaret,
and was frisking about the lawn, sometimes looking in at the drawing-room
window at her sisters, sometimes chattering to Adams at his work, or
laughing to herself and the flowers, in that overflow of mirth, that seemed
always bubbling up within her.
She was standing in rapt contemplation of a pear-tree in full blossom, her
hands tightly clasped behind the back, for greater safety from the temptation,
when, hearing the shrubbery gate open, she turned, expecting to see her
papa, but was frightened at the sight of two strangers, and began to run off
at full speed.
"Stop! Blanche! Blanche, don't you know me?" The voice was that tone of her
brother's, and she stood and looked, but it came from a tall, ruddy youth, in a
shabby rough blue coat, followed by a grizzled old seaman. She was too
much terrified and perplexed even to run.
"What's the matter! Blanche, it is I! Why, don't you know me-- Harry?"
"Poor brother Harry is drowned," she answered; and, with one bound, he was
beside her, and, snatching her up, devoured her with kisses.
"Put me down--put me down, please," was all she could say.
"It is not Blanche! What? the little Daisy, I do believe!"