The Daisy Chain or Aspirations HTML version

Chapter I.7
Something between a hindrance and a help.
Etheldred awoke long before time for getting up, and lay pondering over her
visions. Margaret had sympathised, and therefore they did not seem entirely
aerial. To earn money by writing was her favourite plan, and she called her
various romances in turn before her memory, to judge which might be
brought down to sober pen and ink. She considered till it became not too
unreasonably early to get up. It was dark, but there was a little light close to
the window: she had no writing-paper, but she would interline her old
exercise-book. Down she ran, and crouching in the school-room window-seat,
she wrote on in a trance of eager composition, till Norman called her, as he
went to school, to help him to find a book.
This done, she went up to visit Margaret, to tell her the story, and consult
her. But this was not so easy. She found Margaret with little Daisy lying by
her, and Tom sitting by the fire over his Latin.
"Oh, Ethel, good-morning, dear! you are come just in time."
"To take baby?" said Ethel, as the child was fretting a little.
"Yes, thank you, she has been very good, but she was tired of lying here, and
I can't move her about," said Margaret.
"Oh, Margaret, I have such a plan," said Ethel, as she walked about with little
Gertrude; but Tom interrupted.
"Margaret, will you see if I can say my lesson?" and the thumbed Latin
grammar came across her just as Dr. May's door opened, and he came in
exclaiming, "Latin grammar! Margaret, this is really too much for you. Good-
morning, my dears. Ha! Tommy, take your book away, my boy. You must not
inflict that on sister now. There's your regular master, Richard, in my room, if
it is fit for his ears yet. What, the little one here too?"
"How is your arm, papa?" said Margaret. "Did it keep you awake?"
"Not long--it set me dreaming though, and a very romantic dream it was,
worthy of Ethel herself."
"What was it, papa?"
"Oh, it was an odd thing, joining on strangely enough with one I had three or
four and twenty years ago, when I was a young man, hearing lectures at
Edinburgh, and courting--" he stopped, and felt Margaret's pulse, asked her a