This was the arrangement made and preparations to carry it out were immediately set on foot. In a few days the brother and sister bade good-bye to their kind entertainers, their mother, now nearly recovered, joined them in Philadelphia, and the three together turned their faces westward.
In bidding adieu to Elsie, Sally whispered with tears of joy the good news that Tom was trusting in a strength mightier than his own, and so, as years rolled on, these friends were not surprised to hear of his steadfast adherence to the practice of total abstinence from all intoxicating drinks, and his growing prosperity.
“You may as well
Forbid the seas to obey the moon,
As, or by oath, remove, or counsel, shake
The fabric of her folly.”
Scarcely had the Gibsons departed when their places were more than filled by the unexpected arrival of a large party from Roselands, comprising old Mr. Dinsmore, with his daughter Mrs. Conly and her entire family, with the exception of Calhoun, who would follow shortly.
They were welcomed by their relatives with true southern hospitality and assured that the two cottages could readily be made to accommodate them all comfortably.
“What news of Molly?” was the first question after the greetings had been exchanged.
Mrs. Conly shook her head and sighed, “Hasn’t been able to set her foot on the floor for weeks, and I don’t believe she ever will. That’s Dr. Pancoast’s opinion, and he’s good authority. ’Twas her condition that brought us North. We’ve left her and her mother at the Continental in Philadelphia.
“There’s to be a consultation to-morrow of all the best surgeons in the city. Enna wanted me to stay with her till that was over, but I couldn’t think of it with all these children fretting and worrying to get down here out of the heat. So I told her I’d leave Cal to take care of her and Molly.
“Dick’s with them too. He’s old enough to be useful now, and Molly clings to him far more than to her mother.”
“Isn’t it dreadful,” said Virginia, “to think that that fall down-stairs has made her a cripple for life? though nobody thought she was much hurt at first.”
“Poor child! how does she bear it?” asked her uncle.
“She doesn’t know how to bear it at all,” said Mrs. Conly; “she nearly cries her eyes out.”
“No wonder,” remarked the grandfather; “it’s a terrible prospect she has before her, to say nothing of the present suffering. And her mother has no patience with her; pities herself instead of the child.”
“No,” said Mrs. Conly, “Enna was never known to have much patience with anybody or anything.”
“But Dick’s good to her,” remarked Isadore.
“Yes,” said Arthur, “it’s really beautiful to see his devotion to her and how she clings to him. And it’s doing the lad good;—making a man of him.”