The carriage rolled up to the door; Miss Lavinia descended, and greeting Verty kindly, passed into the house.
In a quarter of an hour the severe lady came forth again, accompanied by the simpering Miss Sallianna, and by poor Redbud, who, wrapped in a shawl, and with red, feverish cheeks, made Verty sigh more deeply than before.
A bright smile from the kind eyes, a gentle pressure of the white, soft hand, now hot with fever, and the young girl was gone from him. The noise of the carriage-wheels died in the distance.
Verty remained for some moments gazing after it; then he rose, and shaking hands with the pitying Fanny, who had lost all her merriment, got slowly into the saddle and returned.
He had expected a day of happiness and laughter with Redbud, basking in the fond light of her eyes, and rambling by her side for happy hours.
He had seen her with fevered cheek and hand, go away from him sick and suffering.
His arms hanging down, his chin resting on his breast, Verty returned slowly to the office, sighing piteously—even Longears seemed to know the suffering of his master, and was still and quiet.
IN WHICH THE HISTORY RETURNS TO APPLE ORCHARD.
Having devoted much space in the foregoing pages to those scenes, descriptive, grotesque, and sentimental, which took place at the Bower of Nature and Winchester, it is proper that we should now go back to the domain of Apple Orchard, and the inhabitants of that realm, so long lost sight of in the contemplation of the graces and attractions of Miss Sallianna, and the various planets which hovered in the wake of that great feminine sun of love and beauty. Apple Orchard, so long lost sight of, will not longer suffer itself to be neglected; and, fortunately, the return of our heroine, Redbud, affords an opportunity of passing away, for the time, from other scenes, and going thither in her company.
Redbud’s sickness did not last long. The girl had one of those constitutions which, though they seem frail and delicate, yet, like the reed, are able to resist what breaks more robust frames. The wetting she had gotten, on the evening whose events we have chronicled, had not seriously affected her;—a severe cold, and with it some slight fever, had been the result. And this fever expended itself completely, in a few days, and left the girl well again, though quite weak and “poorly,” as say the Africans.
Redbud, like most persons, was not fond of a sick-room; and after sending word, day after day, to our friend Verty—who never failed to call twice at least, morning and evening—that she was better, and better, the girl, one morning, declared to cousin Lavinia that she was well enough to put on her dressing-wrapper, and go down stairs.