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Prisoner of hope thou art; look up and sing,
In hope of promised spring.--Christian Year
In the summer of 1862, Tom May was to go up for his examination at the College of Physicians, but only a day or two before it he made his appearance at home, in as much excitement as it was in him to betray. Hazlitt, the banker's clerk at Whitford, had written to him tidings of the presentation of the missing cheque for £25, which Bilson had paid to old Axworthy shortly before the murder, and which Leonard had mentioned as in the pocket-book containing his receipt for the sum that had been found upon him. Tom had made a halt at Whitford, and seen the cheque, which had been backed by the word Axworthy, with an initial that, like all such signatures of the nephew, might stand either for S. or F., and the stiff office hand of both the elder and younger Axworthy was so much alike, that no one could feel certain whose writing it was. The long concealment, after the prisoner's pointed reference to it, was, however, so remarkable, that the home conclave regarded the cause as won; and the father and son hastened triumphantly to the attorneys' office.
Messrs. Bramshaw and Anderson were greatly struck, and owned that their own minds were satisfied as to the truth of their client's assertion; but they demurred as to the possibility of further steps. An action for forgery, Tom's first hope, he saw to be clearly impossible; Samuel Axworthy appeared to have signed the cheque in his own name, and he had every right to it as his uncle's heir; and though the long withholding of it, as well as his own departure, were both suspicious circumstances, they were not evidence. Where was there any certainty that the cheque had ever been in the pocket-book or even if it had, how did it prove the existence of young Ward's acknowledgment? Might it not have been in some receptacle of papers hitherto not opened? There was no sufficient case to carry to the police, after a conviction like Leonard's, to set them on tracing the cheque either to an unknown robber, or to Sam Axworthy, its rightful owner.
Mr. Bramshaw likewise dissuaded Dr. May from laying the case before the Secretary of State, as importunity without due grounds would only tell against him if any really important discovery should be made: and the Doctor walked away, with blood boiling at people's coolness to other folk's tribulations, and greatly annoyed with Tom for having acceded to the representations of the men of law, and declining all co-operation in drawing up a representation for the Home Office, on the plea that he had no time to lose in preparing for his own examination, and must return to town by the next train, which he did without a syllable of real converse with any one at home.
The Doctor set to work with his home helpers, assisted by Dr. Spencer; but the work of composition seemed to make the ground give way under their feet, and a few adroit remarks from Dr. Spencer finally showed him and Ethel that they had not yet attained the prop for the lever that was to move the world. He gave it up, but still he did not quite forgive Tom for having been so easily convinced, and ready to be dismissed to his own affairs.
However, Dr. May was gratified by the great credit with which his son passed his examination, and took his degree; and Sir Matthew Fleet himself wrote in high terms of his talent, diligence, and steadiness, volunteering hopes of being able to put him forward in town in his own line, for which Tom had always had a preference; and adding, that it was in concurrence with his own recommendation that the young man wished to pursue his studies at Paris--he had given him introductions that would enable him to do so to the greatest advantage, and he hoped his father would consent. The letter was followed up by one from Tom himself, as usual too reasonable and authoritative to be gainsaid, with the same representation of advantages to be derived from a course of the Parisian hospitals.
'Ah, well! he is after old Fleet's own heart,' said Dr. May, between pride and mortification. 'I should not grudge poor Fleet some one to take interest in his old age, and I did not look to see him so warm about anything. He has not forgotten Calton Hill! But the boy must have done very well! I say, shall we see him Sir Thomas some of these days, Ethel, and laugh at ourselves for having wanted, to make him go round in a mill after our old fashion?'
'You were contented to run round in your mill,' said Ethel, fondly, 'and maybe he will too.'
'No, no, Ethel, I'll not have him persuaded. Easy-going folk, too lazy for ambition, have no right to prescribe for others. Ambition turned sour is a very dangerous dose! Much better let it fly off! I mean to look out of my mill yet, and see Sir Thomas win the stakes. Only I wish he would come and see us; tell him he shall not hear a word to bother him about the old practice. People have lived and died at Stoneborough without a May to help them, and so they will again, I suppose.'
Ethel was very glad to see how her father had made up his mind to what was perhaps the most real disappointment of his life, but she was grieved that Tom did not respond to the invitation, and next wrote from Paris. It was one of his hurried notes, great contrasts to such elaborate performances as his recent letter. 'Thanks, many thanks to my father,' he said; 'I knew you would make him see reason, and he always yields generously. I was too much hurried to come home; could not afford to miss the trail. I had not time to say before that the Bank that sent the cheque to Whitford had it from a lodging-house in town. Landlord had a writ served on S. A.; as he was embarking at Folkestone, he took out the draft and paid. He knew its import, if Bramshaw did not. I hope my father was not vexed at my not staying. There are things I cannot stand, namely, discussions and Gertrude.'
Gertrude was one of the chief cares upon Ethel's mind. She spent many thoughts upon the child, and even talked her over with Flora.
'What is it, Flora? is it my bad management? She is a good girl, and a dear girl; but there is such a want of softness about her.'
'There is a want of softness about all the young ladies of the day,' returned Flora.
'I have heard you say so, but--'
'We have made girls sensible and clear-headed, till they have grown hard. They have been taught to despise little fears and illusions, and it is certainly not becoming.'
'We had not fears, we were taught to be sensible.'
'Yes, but it is in the influence of the time! It all tends to make girls independent.'
'That's very well for the fine folks you meet in your visits, but it does not account for my Daisy--always at home, under papa's eye-- having turned nineteenth century--What is it, Flora? She is reverent in great things, but not respectful except to papa, and that would not have been respect in one of us--only he likes her sauciness.'
'That is it, partly.'
'No, I won't have that said,' exclaimed Ethel. 'Papa is the only softening influence in the house--the only one that is tender. You see it is unlucky that Gertrude has so few that she really does love, with anything either reverend or softening about them. She is always at war with Charles Cheviot, and he has not fun enough, is too lumbering altogether, to understand her, or set her down in the right way; and she domineers over Hector like the rest of us. I did hope the babies might have found out her heart, but, unluckily, she does not take to them. She is only bored by the fuss that Mary and Blanche make about them.
'You know we are all jealous of both Charles Cheviots, elder and younger.'
'I often question whether I should not have taken her down and made her ashamed of all the quizzing and teasing at the time of Mary's marriage. But one cannot be always spoiling bright merry mischief, and I am only elder sister after all. It is a wonder she is as good to me as she is.'
'She never remembered our mother, poor dear.'
'Ah! that is the real mischief,' said Ethel. 'Mamma would have given the atmosphere of gentleness and discretion, and so would Margaret. How often I have been made, by the merest pained look, to know when what I said was saucy or in bad taste, and I--I can only look forbidding, or else blurt out a reproof that will not come softly.'
'The youngest must be spoilt,' said Flora, 'that's an ordinance of nature. It ends when a boy goes to school, and when a girl--'
'When she marries--or when she finds out what trouble is,' said Flora.
'Is that all you can hold out to my poor Daisy?'
'Well, it is the way of the world. There is just now a reaction from sentiment, and it is the less feminine variety. The softness will come when there is a call for it. Never mind when the foundation is safe.'
'If I could only see that child heartily admiring and looking up! I don't mean love--there used to be a higher, nobler reverence!'
'Such as you and Norman used to bestow on Shakespeare and Scott, and--the vision of Cocksmoor.'
'Not only used,' said Ethel.
'Yes, it is your soft side,' said Flora; 'it is what answers the purpose of sentiment in people like you. It is what I should have thought living with you would have put into any girl; but Gertrude has a satirical side, and she follows the age.'
'I wish you would tell her so--it is what she especially wants not to do! But the spirit of opposition is not the thing to cause tenderness.'
'No, you must wait for something to bring it out. She is very kind to my poor little Margaret, and I won't ask how she talks of her.'
'Tenderly; oh yes, that she always would do.'
'There, then, Ethel, if she can talk tenderly of Margaret, there can't be much amiss at the root.'
'No; and you don't overwhelm the naughty girl with baby talk.'
'Like our happy, proud young mothers,' sighed Flora; and then letting herself out--'but indeed, Ethel, Margaret is very much improved. She has really begun to wish to be good. I think she is struggling with herself.'
'Something to love tenderly, something to reverence highly.' So meditated Ethel, as she watched her sunny-haired, open-faced Daisy, so unconquerably gay and joyous that she gave the impression of sunshine without shade. There are stages of youth that are in themselves unpleasing, and yet that are nobody's fault, nay, which may have within them seeds of strength. Tom's satire had fostered Daisy's too congenial spirit, and he reaped the consequence in the want of repose and sympathy that were driving him from home, and shutting him up within himself. Would he ever forgive that flippant saying, which Ethel had recollected with shame ever since--shame more for herself than for the child, who probably had forgotten, long ago, her 'shaft at random sent'?
Then Ethel would wonder whether, after all, her discontent with Gertrude's speeches was only from feeling older and graver, and perhaps from a certain resentment at finding how the course of time was wearing down the sharp edge of compassion towards Leonard.
A little more about Leonard was gathered when the time came of release for his friend the clerk Brown. This young man had an uncle at Paris, engaged in one of the many departments connected with steam that carry Englishmen all over the world, and Leonard obtained permission to write to Dr. Thomas May, begging him to call upon the uncle, and try if he could be induced to employ the penitent and reformed nephew under his own eye. It had been wise in Leonard to write direct, for if the request had been made through any one at home, Tom would have considered it as impossible; but he could not resist the entreaty, and his mission was successful. The uncle was ready to be merciful, and undertook all the necessary arrangements for, and even the responsibility of, bringing the ticket-of-leave man to Paris, where he found him a desk in his office. One of Tom's few detailed epistles was sent to Ethel after this arrival, when the uncle had told him how the nephew had spoken of his fellow-prisoner. It was to Leonard Ward that the young man had owed the inclination to open his heart to religious instruction, hitherto merely endured as a portion of the general infliction of the penalty, a supposed engine for dealing with the superstitious, but entirely beneath his attention. The sight of the educated face had at first attracted him, but when he observed the reverential manner in chapel, he thought it mere acting the ''umble prisoner,' till he observed how unobtrusive, unconscious, and retiring was every token of devotion, and watched the eyes, brightened or softened in praise or in prayer, till he owned the genuineness and guessed the depth of both, then perceived in school how far removed his unknown comrade was from the mere superstitious boor. This was the beginning. The rest had been worked out by the instruction and discipline of the place, enforced by the example, and latterly by the conversation, of his fellow- prisoner, until he had come forth sincerely repenting, and with the better hope for the future that his sins had not been against full light.
He declared himself convinced that Ward far better merited to be at large than he did, and told of the regard that uniform good conduct was obtaining at last, though not till after considerable persecution, almost amounting to personal danger from the worse sort of convicts, who regarded him as a spy, because he would not connive at the introduction of forbidden indulgences, and always stood by the authorities. Once his fearless interposition had saved the life of a warder, and this had procured him trust, and promotion to a class where his companions were better conducted, and more susceptible to good influences, and among them Brown was sure that his ready submission and constant resolution to do his work were producing an effect. As to his spirits, Brown had never known him break down but once, and that was when he had come upon a curious fossil in the stone. Otherwise he was grave and contented, but never laughed or joked as even some gentlemen prisoners of more rank and age had been known to do. The music in the chapel was his greatest pleasure, and he had come to be regarded as an important element in the singing.
Very grateful was Dr. May to Tom for having learnt, and still more for having transmitted, all these details, and Ethel was not the less touched, because she knew they were to travel beyond Minster Street. Those words of Mr. Wilmot's seemed to be working out their accomplishment; and she thought so the more, when in early spring one of Leonard's severe throat attacks led to his being sent after his recovery to assist the schoolmaster, instead of returning to the carpenter's shed; and he was found so valuable in the school that the master begged to retain his services.
That spring was a grievous one in Indiana. The war, which eighteen months previously was to have come to an immediate end, was still raging, and the successes that had once buoyed up the Northern States with hope had long since been chequered by terrible reverses. On, on, still fought either side, as though nothing could close the strife but exhaustion or extinction; and still ardent, still constant, through bereavement and privation, were either party to their blood-stained flag. Mordaunt Muller had fallen in one of the terrible battles on the Rappahannock; and Cora, while, sobbing in Averil's arms, had still confessed herself thankful that it had been a glorious death for his country's cause! And even in her fresh grief, she had not endeavoured to withhold her other brother, when, at the urgent summons of Government, he too had gone forth to join the army.
Cora was advised to return to her friends at New York, but she declared her intention of remaining to keep house with Cousin Deborah. Unless Averil would come with her, nothing should induce her to leave Massissauga, certainly not while Ella and Averil were alternately laid low by the spring intermittent fever. Perhaps the fact was that, besides her strong affection for Averil, she felt that in her ignorance she had assisted her father in unscrupulously involving them in a hazardous and unsuccessful speculation, and that she was the more bound, in justice as well as in love and pity, to do her best for their assistance. At any rate, Rufus had no sooner left home, than she insisted on the three sisters coming to relieve her loneliness--in other words, in removing them from the thin ill-built frame house, gaping in every seam with the effects of weather, and with damp oozing up between every board of the floor, the pestiferous river-fog, the close air of the forest, and the view of the phantom trees, now decaying and falling one against another.
Cousin Deborah, who had learnt to love and pity the forlorn English girls, heartily concurred; and Averil consented, knowing that the dry house and pure air were the best hope of restoring Ella's health.
Averil and Ella quickly improved, grew stronger in the intervals, and suffered less during the attacks; but Minna, who in their own house had been less ill, had waited on both, and supplied the endless deficiencies of the kindly and faithful, but two-fisted Katty; Minna, whose wise and simple little head had never failed in sensible counsels, or tender comfort; Minna, whom the rudest and most self- important far-wester never disobliged, Minna, the peace-maker, the comfort and blessing--was laid low by fever, and fever that, as the experienced eyes of Cousin Deborah at once perceived, 'meant mischief.' Then it was that the real kindliness of heart of the rough people of the West showed itself. The five wild young ladies, whose successive domestic services had been such trouble, and whose answer to a summons from the parlour had been, 'Did yer holler, Avy? I thort I heerd a scritch,' each, from Cleopatra Betsy to Hetta Mary, were constantly rushing in to inquire, or to present questionable dainties and nostrums from their respective 'Mas'; the charwomen, whom Minna had coaxed in her blandest manner to save trouble to Averil and disgust to Henry, were officious in volunteers of nursing and sitting up, the black cook at the hotel sent choice fabrics of jelly and fragrant ice; and even Henry's rival, who had been so strong against the insolence of a practitioner showing no testimonials, no sooner came under the influence of the yearning, entreating, but ever-patient eyes, than his attendance became assiduous, his interest in the case ardent.
Henry himself was in the camp, before Vicksburg, with his hands too full of piteous cases of wounds and fever to attempt the most hurried visit.
'Sister, dear,' said the soft slow voice, one day when Averil had been hoping her patient was asleep, 'are you writing to Henry?'
'Yes, my darling. Do you want to say anything?'
'Oh yes! so much;' and the eyes grew bright, and the breath gasping; 'please beg Henry--tell Henry--that I must--I can't bear it any longer if I don't--'
'You must what, dear child? Henry would let you do anything he could.'
'Oh, then, would he let me speak about dear Leonard?' and the child grew deadly white when the words were spoken; but her eyes still sought Averil's face, and grew terrified at the sight of the gush of tears. 'O, Ave, Ave, tell me only--he is not dead!' and as Averil could only make a sign, 'I do have such dreadful fancies about him, and I think I could sleep if I only knew what was really true.'
'You shall, dear child, you shall, without waiting to hear from Henry; I know he would let you.'
And only then did Averil know the full misery that Henry's decision had inflicted on the gentle little heart, in childish ignorance, imagining fetters and dungeons, even in her sober waking moods, and a prey to untold horrors in every dream, exaggerated by feverishness and ailment--horrors that, for aught she knew, might be veritable, and made more awful by the treatment of his name as that of one dead.
To hear of him as enjoying the open air and light of day, going to church, singing their own favourite hymn tunes, and often visited by Dr. May, was to her almost as great a joy as if she had heard of him at liberty. And Averil had a more than usually cheerful letter to read to her, one written in the infirmary during his recovery. His letters to her were always cheerful, but this one was particularly so, having been written while exhilarated by the relaxations permitted to convalescents, and by enjoying an unwonted amount of conversation with the chaplain and the doctor.
'So glad, so glad,' Minna was heard murmuring to herself again and again; her rest was calmer than it had been for weeks, and the doctor found her so much better that he trusted that a favourable change had begun.
But it was only a gleam of hope. The weary fever held its prey, and many as were the fluctuations, they always resulted in greater weakness; and the wandering mind was not always able to keep fast hold of the new comfort. Sometimes she would piteously clasp her sister's hand, and entreat, 'Tell me again;' and sometimes the haunting delirious fancies of chains and bars would drop forth from the tongue that had lost its self-control; yet even at the worst came the dear old recurring note, 'God will not let them hurt him, for he has not done it!' Sometimes, more trying to Averil than all, she would live over again the happy games with him, or sing their favourite hymns and chants, or she would be heard pleading, 'O, Henry, don't be cross to Leonard.'
Cora could not fail to remark the new name that mingled in the unconscious talk; but she had learnt to respect Averil's reserve, and she forbore from all questioning, trying even to warn Cousin Deborah, who, with the experience of an elderly woman, remarked, 'That she had too much to do to mind what a sick child rambled about. When Cora had lived to her age, she would know how unaccountably they talked.'
But Averil felt the more impelled to an outpouring by this delicate forbearance, and the next time she and Cora were sent out together to breathe the air, while Cousin Deborah watched the patient, she told the history, and to a sympathizing listener, without a moment's doubt of Leonard's innocence, nor that American law would have managed matters better.
'And now, Cora, you know why I told you there were bitterer sorrows than yours.'
'Ah! Averil, I could have believed you once; but to know that he never can come again! Now you always have hope.'
'My hope has all but gone,' said Averil. 'There is only one thing left to look to. If I only can live till he is sent out to a colony, then nothing shall keep me back from him!'
'And what would I give for even such a hope?'
'We have a better hope, both of us,' murmured Averil.
'It won't seem so long when it is over.'
Well was it for Averil that this fresh link of sympathy was riveted, for day by day she saw the little patient wasting more hopelessly away, and the fever only burning lower for want of strength to feed on. Utterly exhausted and half torpid, there was not life or power enough left in the child for them to know whether she was aware of her condition. When they read Prayers, her lips always moved for the Lord's Prayer and Doxology; and when the clergyman came out from Winiamac, prayed by her and blessed her, she opened her eyes with a look of comprehension; and if, according to the custom from the beginning of her illness, the Psalms and Lessons were not read in her room, she was uneasy, though she could hardly listen. So came Easter Eve; and towards evening she was a little revived, and asked Averil what day it was, then answered, 'I thought it would have been nice to have died yesterday,'--it was the first time she mentioned death. Averil told her she was better, but half repented, as the child sank into torpor again; and Averil, no longer the bewildered girl who had been so easily led from the death scene, knew the fitful breath and fluttering pulse, and felt the blank dread stealing over her heart.
Again, however, the child looked up, and murmured, 'You have not read to-day.' Cora, who had the Bible on her knee, gently obeyed, and read on, where she was, the morning First Lesson, the same in the American Church as in our own. Averil, dull with watching and suffering, sat on dreamily, with the scent of primroses wafted to her, as it were, by the association of the words, though her power to attend to them was gone. Before the chapter was over, the doze had overshadowed the little girl again; and yet, more than once, as the night drew on, they heard her muttering what seemed like the echo of one of its verses, 'Turn you, turn you--'
At last, after hours of watching, and more than one vain endeavour of good Cousin Deborah to lead away the worn but absorbed nurses, the dread messenger came. Minna turned suddenly in her sister's arms, with more strength than Averil had thought was left in her, and eagerly stretched out her arms, while the words so long trembling on her lips found utterance. 'Turn you to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope! O, Leonard dear! it does not hurt!' But that last word was almost lost in the gasp--the last gasp. What 'did not hurt' was death without his sting.
'O, Cora! Was he with her? Is he gone too?' was Averil's cry at the first moment, as she strained the form of her little comforter for the last time in her arms.
'And if he is, they are in joy together,' said Cousin Deborah, tenderly but firmly unloosing Averil's arms, though with the tears running down her cheeks. 'Take her away, Cora, and both of you sleep. This dear lamb is in better keeping than yours.'
Heavy, grievous, was the loss, crushing the grief; but it was such as to be at its softest and sweetest at Easter, amid the Resurrection joys, and the budding flowers, though Ella's bitterest fit of weeping was excited by there being no primroses--the primroses that Minna loved so much; and her first pleasurable thought was to sit down and write to her dear 'Mr. Tom' to send her some primrose seed, for Minna's grave.
Minna's grave! Alas! Massissauga had but an untidy desolate-looking region, with a rude snake fence, all unconsecrated! Cora wanted to choose a shaded corner in her father's ground, where they might daily tend the child's earthly resting-place; but Averil shrank from this with horror; and finally, on one of the Easter holidays, the little wasted form in its coffin was reverently driven by Philetus to Winiamac, while the sisters and Cora slowly followed, thinking--the one of the nameless blood-stained graves of a battle-field; the other whether an equally nameless grave-yard, but one looked on with a shudder unmixed with exultation, had opened for the other being she loved best. 'The Resurrection and the Life.--Yes, had not He made His grave with the wicked, and been numbered with the transgressors!'
Somehow, the present sorrow was more abundant in such comforts as these than all the pangs which her heart, grown old in sorrow, had yet endured.
Yet if her soul had bowed itself to meet sorrow more patiently and peacefully, it was at the expense of the bodily frame. Already weakened by the intermittent fever, the long strain of nursing had told on her; and that hysteric affection that had been so distressing at the time of her brother's trial recurred, and grew on her with every occasion for self-restraint. The suspense in which she lived-- with one brother in the camp, in daily peril from battle and disease, the other in his convict prison--wore her down, and made every passing effect of climate or fatigue seize on her frame like a serious disorder; and the more she resigned her spirit, the more her body gave way. Yet she was infinitely happier. The repentance and submission were bearing fruit, and the ceasing to struggle had brought a strange calm and acceptance of all that might be sent; nay, her own decay was perhaps the sweetest solace and healing of the wearied spirit; and as to Ella, she would trust, and she did trust, that in some way or other all would be well.
She felt as if even Leonard's death could be accepted thankfully as the captive's release. But that sorrow was spared her.
The account of Leonard came from Mr. Wilmot, who had carried him the tidings. The prisoner had calmly met him with the words, 'I know what you are come to tell me;' and he heard all in perfect calmness and resignation, saying little, but accepting all that the clergyman said, exactly as could most be desired.
From the chaplain, likewise, Mr. Wilmot learnt that Leonard, though still only in the second stage of his penalty, stood morally in a very different position, and was relied on as a valuable assistant in all that was good, more effective among his fellow-prisoners than was possible to any one not in the same situation with themselves, and fully accepting that position when in contact either with convicts or officials. 'He has never referred to what brought him here,' said the chaplain, 'nor would I press him to do so; but his whole tone is of repentance, and acceptance of the penalty, without, like most of them, regarding it as expiation. It is this that renders his example so valuable among the men.'
After such a report as this, it was disappointing, on Dr. May's next visit to Portland, at two months' end, to find Leonard drooping and downcast. The Doctor was dismayed at his pale, dejected, stooping appearance, and the silence and indifference with which he met their ordinary topics of conversation, till the Doctor began anxiously--
'You are not well?'
'Quite well, thank you.'
'You are looking out of condition. Do you sleep?'
'Some part of the night.'
'You want more exercise. You should apply to go back to the carpenter's shop--or shall I speak to the governor?'
'No, thank you. I believe they want me in school.'
'And you prefer school work?'
'I don't know, but it helps the master.'
'Do you think you make any progress with the men? We heard you were very effective with them.'
'I don't see that much can be done any way, certainly not by me.'
Then the Doctor tried to talk of Henry and the sisters; but soon saw that Leonard had no power to dwell upon them. The brief answers were given with a stern compression and contraction of face; as if the manhood that had grown on him in these three years was no longer capable of the softening effusion of grief; and Dr. May, with all his tenderness, felt that it must be respected, and turned the conversation.
'I have been calling at the Castle,' he said, 'with Ernescliffe, and the governor showed me a curious thing, a volume of Archbishop Usher, which had been the Duke of Lauderdale's study after he was taken at Worcester. He has made a note in the fly-leaf, "I began this book at Windsor, and finished it during my imprisonment here;" and below are mottoes in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. I can't construe the Hebrew. The Greek is oisteon kai elpisteon (one must bear and hope), the Latin is durate. Will you accept your predecessor's legacy?'
'I think I read about him in an account of the island,' said Leonard, with a moment's awakened intelligence; 'was he not the L. of the Cabal, the persecutor in "Old Mortality?"'
'I am afraid you are right. Prosperity must have been worse for him than adversity.'
'Endure' repeated Leonard, gravely. 'I will think of that, and what he would mean by hope now.'
The Doctor came home much distressed; he had been unable to penetrate the dreary, resolute self-command that covered so much anguish; he had failed in probing or in healing, and feared that the apathy he had witnessed was a sign that the sustaining spring of vigour was failing in the monotonous life. The strong endurance had been a strain that the additional grief was rendering beyond his power; and the crushed resignation, and air of extinguished hope, together with the indications of failing health, filled the Doctor with misgivings.
'It will not last much longer,' he said. 'I do not mean that he is ill; but to hold up in this way takes it out of a man, especially at his age. The first thing that lays hold of him, he will have no strength nor will to resist, and then--Well, I did hope to live to see God show the right.'
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