Valentine repeated his words, and was relieved when John roused himself, and expressed surprise and pleasure at seeing him. He sent Valentine to one of his clerks for some papers to be signed, gave him other directions, and was evidently the better for his presence.
It was not without many strange sensations that Valentine found himself again in that room where he had spent such happy hours, and which was so connected with his recollections of his old uncle. The plunge he had taken into the sweet waters of prosperity and praise had made him oblivious of some things that now came before his thoughts again with startling distinctness; but on the whole he felt pleasure in going back to the life that he had elected to leave, and was very glad to forget John’s face in doing what he could to help him.
When he returned to the house John had commenced his restless walk again. Swan was walking beside him, and he was slightly leaning his hand on the old man’s shoulder, as if to steady himself.
Valentine drew near.
“And you are sure he said nothing more?” John was saying in the low inward tone of fatigue and exhaustion.
“No, sir. ‘Tell Mr. Mortimer,’ says he, ’that his son is considerable better,’ and he told Mrs. Walker—I heard him say it—that the blessed little one was no worse, not a morsel worse.”
Valentine paused and heard John speak again in that peculiar tone—“I have no hope, Swan.”
“I wouldn’t give up, sir, if I was you: allers hold on to hope, sir.”
“I cannot stand the strain much longer,” he continued, as if he had not listened, “but sometimes—my thoughts are often confused—but sometimes I feel some slight relief in prayer.”
“Ay, sir,” answered Swan, “the Scripture says, ’Knock, and it shall be opened to you,’ and I’ve allers thought it was mighty easier for one that begs to go and knock there than anywhere else, for in that house the Master opens the door himself.”
A WOMAN’S SYMPATHY.
not dark, not light.
Dusk all the scented air,
I’ll e’en go forth to one I love,
And learn how he doth fare.
O the ring, the ring, my dear, for me,
The ring was a world too fine,
I wish it had sunk in a forty-fathom sea,
Or ever thou mad’st it mine.
“Soft falls the
dew, stars tremble through,
Where lone he sits apart,
Would I might steal his grief away
To hide in mine own heart.
Would, would ’twere shut in yon blossom fair,
The sorrow that bows thy head,
Then—I would gather it, to thee unaware,
And break my heart in thy stead.