He went loiteringly into the library and gently closed the door. Then he turned the light low, paced once up and down the room, and all at once slammed himself full length upon a lounge, and lay face up, face down, by turns, writhing and tearing his hair.
Soon again he was pacing the floor, and presently was prone once more, and then once more up.
Giles, his English man, brought the doctor, and Arthur heard him discoursing as the vehicle drew up.
“Yes, sir, quite so; quite so, sir. And yet I believe, sir, if h-all money and lands was ’eld in common, the ’ole ’uman ryce would be as ’appy as the gentlemen and lydies on Bylow ’Ill!”
The young husband met the physician cheerily, sent him up, and went back to his solitude.
An hour passed, and then Sarah Stebbens knocked and leaned in. “Mr. Arthur!”
“Oh! I didn’t see you. All’s well, and it’s a daughter.”
It was most pleasant, being asked by everyone, even by General Byington, how it felt to be a grandmother. “Oh! ho, ho!” Mrs. Morris’s unutilized dimple kept itself busy to the point of positive fatigue.
Even more delightful was it, when the time came round for the totality of her sex—the only sex worth considering—to call and see the babe and mother, to hear them all proclaim it the prettiest infant ever seen, and covertly pronounce Isabel more beautiful than on her wedding day.
In a way she was; and particularly when they fondly rallied her upon her new accession of motherly practical manner, and she laughed with them, and ended with that merry, mellow sigh which still gave Ruth new pride in her and new hope. But another source of Ruth’s new hope was that Arthur, who had written to the bishop and resigned his calling the day after Mrs. Morris’s little namesake was born, had at length withdrawn his letter.
“It is to your brother we owe its withdrawal,” said the bishop, privately, to Ruth.
She beamed gratefully, but did not tell him that, after the long, secret conference between her brother and the rector, Leonard had come to her and wept for Arthur the only tears he had ever shed in her presence. Now Leonard had found occasion to go West for a time, though he still held his office; and Arthur was filling the rectorate almost in the old first way. On some small parish matter the rustic vestryman with the spectacled daughter came to Arthur’s library in better spirits than he had shown for months, and by and by asked conjecturally, “I—eh—guess you don’t keep any babies here you’re ashamed to show, do ye?” and held his mouth very wide open.
The infinitesimal was brought.
“Well, I vum! Why, Miz. Winslow, I don’t believe th’ ever was a pretty baby so puny, nor a puny baby so pretty! Now, if it’s a fair question, I hope y’ ain’t tryin’ to push in between this baby and the keaow, be ye?”