Yet what would Johanna think if the refused? And there was Elizabeth absolutely in want of clothes. “I must be growing very wicked,” thought poor Hilary.
She lay a good while silent in the dark, while Johanna planned and replanned—calculating how, even with the addition of an old cape of her own, which was out of the same piece, this hapless gown could be made to fit the gaunt frame of Elizabeth Hand.—Her poor kindly brain was in the last extremity of muddle, when Hilary, with a desperate effort, dashed in to the rescue, and soon made all clear, contriving body, skirt, sleeves and all.
“You have the best head in the world, my love. I don’t know whatever I should do without you.”
“Luckily you are never likely to be tried. So give me a kiss; and good night, Johanna.”
I misdoubt many will say I am writing about small, ridiculously small, things. Yet is not the whole of life made up of infinitesimally small things? And in its strange and solemn mosaic, the full pattern of which we never see clearly till looking back on it from far away, dare we say of any thing which the hand of Eternal Wisdom has put together, that it is too common or too small?
While her anxious mistresses were thus talking her over the servant lay on her humble bed and slept. They knew she did, for they heard her heavy breathing through the thin partition wall. Whether, as Hilary suggested, she was too ignorant to notice the days of the week, or month, or, as Selina thought, too stupid to care for any thing beyond eating, drinking, and sleeping. Elizabeth manifested no anxiety about herself or her destiny.
She went about her work just as usual; a little quicker and readier, now she was becoming familiarized to it; but she said nothing. She was undoubtedly a girl of silent and undemonstrative nature.
“Sometimes still waters run deep,” said Miss Hilary.
“Nevertheless. there are such things as canals,” replied Johanna. “When do you mean to have your little talk with her?”
Hilary did not know. She was sitting, rather more tired than usual, by the school-room fire, the little people having just departed for their Saturday half-holiday. Before clearing off the debris which they always left behind, she stood a minute at the window, refreshing her eyes with the green field opposite, and the far-away wood, crowned by a dim white monument, visible in fair weather, on which those bright brown eyes had a trick of lingering, even in the middle of school hours. For the wood and the hill beyond belonged to a nobleman’s “show” estate, five miles off—the only bit of real landscape beauty that Hilary had ever beheld. There, during the last holidays but one, she, her sisters, her nephew, and, by his own special request, Mr. Lyon, had spent a whole long, merry, midsummer day. She wondered whether such a day would ever come again!