So they were married; Captain Walker was excessively proud and happy in his wife, and Mrs. Walker was as joyous and sweet as ever. She had satisfied the kindly pity which for a long while had made her very uncomfortable on his account; and, O happy circumstance! she became in course of time the mother of the most attractive, wonderful, and interesting child ever born. In the eyes, however, of the invidious world, he was uncommonly like his plain sickly father, and not, with that exception, at all distinguished from other children.
John made haste to send Valentine off to the junction, undertook himself to drive his father over to see Emily, and gathered from the short account Valentine gave whilst the horse was put too, that Fred Walker had been taken ill during the night with a fainting fit. He had come from India for his year’s leave in a very poor state of health, and with apprehended heart disease. Only ten days previously Emily had persuaded him that it would be well to go to London for advice. But a fainting fit had taken place, and the medical man called in had forbidden this journey for the present. He had appeared to recover, so that there seemed to be no more ground for uneasiness than usual; but this second faintness had lasted long enough to terrify all those about him.
Grand was very fond of his late brother’s stepdaughter; she had always been his favourite, partly on account of her confiding ease and liking for him, partly because of the fervent religiousness that she had shown from a child.
The most joyous and gladsome natures are often most keenly alive to impressions of reverence, and wonder, and awe. Emily’s mind longed and craved to annex itself to all things fervent, deep, and real. As she walked on the common grass, she thought the better of it because the feet of Christ had trodden it also. There were things which she—as the angels—“desired to look into;” but she wanted also to do the right thing, and to love the doing of it.
With all this half Methodistic fervour, and longing to lie close at the very heart of Christianity, she had by nature a strange fearlessness; her religion, which was full of impassioned loyalty, and her faith, which seemed to fold her in, had elements in them of curiosity and awed expectation, which made death itself appear something grand and happy, quite irrespective of a simply religious reason. It would show her “the rest of it.” She could not do long without it; and often in her most joyous hours she felt that the crown of life was death’s most grand hereafter.
AN EASY DISMISSAL.
Indeed the top of admiration! worth
What’s dearest to the world.”
“Well, father, it’s too true!”
“You don’t say so?”
“Yes; he died, Dr. Mainby’s housekeeper says, at five o’clock this morning. The doctor was there all night, and he’s now come home, and gone to bed.”