“Yes. All at once. But the dear Lord stands by. Take hold of His hand,—and bear with all your might!”
“Do you think, Luclarion,” said Desire, feebly, as Luclarion came to take away her bowl of chicken broth,—“that it is my duty to go with mamma?”
“I don’t know,” said Luclarion, standing with the little waiter in her right hand, her elbow poised upon her hip,—“I’ve thought of that, and I don’t know. There’s most generally a stump, you see, one way or another, and that settles it, but here there’s one both ways. I’ve kinder lost my road: come to two blazes, and can’t tell which. Only, it ain’t my road, after all. It lays between the Lord and you, and I suppose He means it shall. Don’t you worry; there’ll be some sort of a sign, inside or out. That’s His business, you’ve just got to keep still, and get well.”
Desire had asked her mother, before this, if she would care very much,—no, she did not mean that,—if she would be disappointed, or disapprove, that she should stay behind.
“Stay behind? Not go to Europe? Why, where could you stay? What would you do?”
“There would be things to do, and places to stay,” Desire had answered, constrainedly. “I could do like Dorris.”
“No. I don’t know music. But I might teach something I do know. Or I could—rip,” she said, with an odd smile, remembering something she had said one day so long ago; the day the news came up to Z—— from Uncle Oldways. “And I might make out to put together for other people, and for a real business. I never cared to do it just for myself.”
“It is perfectly absurd,” said Mrs Ledwith. “You couldn’t be left to take care of yourself. And if you could, how it would look! No; of course you must go with us.”
“But do you care?”
“Why, if there were any proper way, and if you really hate so to go,—but there isn’t,” said Mrs. Ledwith, not very grammatically or connectedly.
“She doesn’t care,” said Desire to herself, after her mother had left her, turning her face to the pillow, upon which two tears ran slowly down. “And that is my fault, too, I suppose. I have never been anything!”
Lying there, she made up her mind to one thing. She would get Uncle Titus to come, and she would talk to him.
“He won’t encourage me in any notions,” she said to herself. “And I mean now, if I can find it out, to do the thing God means; and then I suppose,—I believe,—the snarl will begin to unwind.”
Meanwhile, Luclarion, when she had set a nice little bowl of tea-muffins to rise, and had brought up a fresh pitcher of ice-water into Desire’s room, put on her bonnet and went over to Aspen Street for an hour.
Down in the kitchen, at Mrs. Ripwinkley’s, they were having a nice time.