“Hush, sister, hush!” cried Henry. “I expected not this from you. The expressions you use are not your expressions. I know you better. There is abundance of divine mercy, but no divine vengeance. Be calm, I pray you.”
“Yes. Make an exertion of that intellect we all know you to possess. It is too common a thing with human nature, when misfortune overtakes it, to imagine that such a state of things is specially arranged. We quarrel with Providence because it does not interfere with some special miracle in our favour; forgetting that, being denizens of this earth, and members of a great social system; We must be subject occasionally to the accidents which will disturb its efficient working.”
“Oh, brother, brother!” she exclaimed, as she dropped into a seat, “you have never loved.”
“No; you have never felt what it was to hold your being upon the breath of another. You can reason calmly, because you cannot know the extent of feeling you are vainly endeavouring to combat.”
“Flora, you do me less than justice. All I wish to impress upon your mind is, that you are not in any way picked out by Providence to be specially unhappy—that there is no perversion of nature on your account.”
“Call you that hideous vampyre form that haunts me no perversion of ordinary nature?”
“What is is natural,” said Marchdale.
“Cold reasoning to one who suffers as I suffer. I cannot argue with you; I can only know that I am most unhappy—most miserable.”
“But that will pass away, sister, and the sun of your happiness may smile again.”
“Oh, if I could but hope!”
“And wherefore should you deprive yourself of that poorest privilege of the most unhappy?”
“Because my heart tells me to despair.”
“Tell it you won’t, then,” cried Admiral Bell. “If you had been at sea as long as I have, Miss Bannerworth, you would never despair of anything at all.”
“Providence guarded you,” said Marchdale.
“Yes, that’s true enough, I dare say, I was in a storm once off Cape Ushant, and it was only through Providence, and cutting away the mainmast myself, that we succeeded in getting into port.”
“You have one hope,” said Marchdale to Flora, as he looked in her wan face.
“Yes. Recollect you have one hope.”
“What is that?”
“You think that, by removing from this place, you may find that peace which is here denied you.”
“No, no, no.”
“Indeed. I thought that such was your firm conviction.”
“It was; but circumstances have altered.”
“Charles Holland has disappeared here, and here must I remain to seek for him.”
“True he may have disappeared here,” remarked Marchdale; “and yet that may be no argument for supposing him still here.”