He rose and went with her, in a dream of joy that for a moment precluded speech. At the door she bade him good-night, and, oh! happiness, gave him her lips to kiss. Then they parted, their hearts too full for words. One thing he asked her, however.
“What was it that took you to your mother’s grave to-night?”
She looked at him with a curiously mixed expression of shy love and conviction on her face, and answered,
“Her spirit, who led me to your heart.”
George’s recovery, when the doctors had given up all hope, was sufficiently marvellous to suggest the idea that a certain power had determined—on the hangman’s principle, perhaps—to give him the longest of ropes; but it could in reality be traced to a more terrestrial influence—namely, Lady Bellamy’s nursing. Had it not been for this nursing, it is very certain that her patient would have joined his forefathers in the Bratham churchyard. For whole days and nights she watched and tended him, scarcely closing her own eyes, and quite heedless of the danger of infection; till in the end she conquered the fever, and snatched him from the jaws of the grave. How often has not a woman’s devotion been successful in such a struggle!
On the Monday following the events narrated in the last chapter, George, now in an advanced stage of convalescence, though forbidden to go abroad for another fortnight, was sitting downstairs enjoying the warm sunshine, and the sensation of returning life and vigour that was creeping into his veins, when Lady Bellamy came into the room, bringing with her some medicine.
“Here is your tonic, George; it is the last dose that I can give you, as I am going back to my disconsolate husband at luncheon-time.”
“I can’t have you go away yet; I am not well enough.”
“I must go, George; people will begin to talk if I stop here any longer.”
“Well, if you must, I suppose you must,” he answered, sulkily. “But I must say I think that you show a great want of consideration for my comfort. Who is to look after me, I should like to know? I am far from well yet—far from well.”
“Believe me,” she said, softly, “I am very sorry to leave you, and am glad to have been of help to you, though you have never thought much about it.”
“Oh, I am sure I am much obliged, but it is not likely that you would leave me to rot of fever without coming to look after me.”
She sighed as she answered,
“You would not do as much for me.”
“Oh, bother, Anne, don’t get sentimental. Before you go, I must speak to you about that girl Angela. Have you taken any steps?”
Lady Bellamy started.
“What, are you still bent upon that project?”
“Of course I am. It seemed to me that all my illness was one long dream of her. I am more bent upon it than ever.”