PROF. D. Was not she on the spot?
MR. A. True; but, poor dear, she is of a gentle nature, easily led, and seeing only what her affection lets her perceive. And now, she is not strong.
PROF. D. She is not looking well.
MR. A. You think so! I wonder whether I have been blind, and let her undertake too much.
PROF. D. Suppose you were to bring her to town for a few days. We should be delighted to have you, and she could see the doctor to whom she is accustomed. Then you can judge for yourself about her daughter.
MR. A. Thank you, Dunlop! It will be a great comfort if it can be managed.
VIII. AUNT AND NIECE
SCENE.—IN A HANSOM CAB. MRS. HOLLAND AND CECILIA.
MRS. H. I wanted to speak to you, Cissy.
C. I thought so!
MRS. H. What do you think of your mother?
C. Poor old darling. They have been worrying her till she has got hipped and nervous about herself.
MRS. H. Do you know what spasms she has been having?
C. Oh! mother has had spasms as long as I can remember; and the more she thinks of them the worse they are. I have often heard her say so.
MRS. H. Yes; she has gone on much too long overworking herself, and not letting your grandfather suspect anything amiss.
C. Nerves. That is what it always is.
MRS. H. Dr. Brownlow says there is failure of heart, not dangerous or advanced at present, but that there is an overstrain of all the powers, and that unless she keeps fairly quiet, and free from hurry and worry, there may be very serious, if not fatal attacks.
C. I never did think much of Dr. Brownlow. He told me my palpitations were nothing but indigestion, and I am sure they were not!
MRS. H. Well, Cissy, something must be done to relieve your mother of some of her burthens.
C. I see what you are driving at, Aunt Phrasie; but I cannot go back till I have finished these courses. There’s my picture, there’s the cookery school, the ambulance lectures, and our sketching tour in August. Ever so many engagements. I shall be free in the autumn, and then I will go down and see about it. I told mother so.
MRS. H. All the hot trying months of summer without help!
C. I never can understand why they don’t have a governess.
MRS. H. Can’t you? Is there not a considerable outgoing on your behalf?
C. That is my own. I am not bound to educate my uncle’s children at my expense.
MRS. H. No; but if you contributed your share to the housekeeping, you would make a difference, and surely you cannot leave your mother to break down her health by overworking herself in this manner.
C. Why does grandpapa let her do so?
MRS. H. Partly he does not see, partly he cannot help it. He has been so entirely accustomed to have all those family and parish details taken off his hands, and borne easily as they were when your dear grandmamma and I were both there at home, that he cannot understand that they can be over much—especially as they are so small in themselves. Besides, he is not so young as he was, and your dear mother cannot bear to trouble him.