“Better than ever,” replied Cornelia, with a short laugh, which had no trace of hysteria about it.
There was, however, a slight but decided change in her manner, which did not pass away: a sort of hardness and impenetrability: and so incorporated into her nature did these traits seem, that one would have supposed they had always been there. Some unpleasant visitors take a surprisingly short time to make themselves at home.
But Sophie, seeing that her sister soon recovered her usual appearance, did not allow herself to be disturbed by any uncalled-for anxieties. Love, at its best, has a tendency to absorb and preoccupy those whom it inspires: if not selfish, it is of necessity self-sufficient and exclusive. Sophie was too completely permeated with her happiness, to admit of being long overshadowed by the ills of those less blessed than herself. Not that she had lost the power to sympathize with misfortune, but the sympathy was apt to be smiling rather than tearful. She was alight with the chaste, translucent, wondering joy of a maiden before her marriage: the delicate, pearl-tinted brightness that pales the stars, before the reddening morning brings on the broader daylight.
She was not of those who, in fair weather, are on the lookout for rain: she believed that God had plenty of sunshine, and was generous of it; and that the possibilities of bliss were unlimited. She was not afraid to be perfectly happy. A little sunny spot, in a valley, which no shadow has crossed all day long, was like her: there seemed to be nothing in her soul that needed shadow to set it right.
Cheerfulness was soon reestablished, therefore, so far as she was concerned; and the remembrance of Cornelia’s distracting seizure presently yielded to the throng of light-footed thoughts that were ever knocking for admittance at her heart’s door. Once afterward, however, the event was recalled to her memory, by the revelation of its cause. Little that happens in our lives would seem trifling to us, could we but trace it, forward or backward, to the end.
BRESSANT TAKES A VACATION.
Friday, December 30th, was the day appointed for Abbie’s ball, and the morning of the 28th had already dawned. Bressant stood, with his arms folded, at the window of his room, watching the downfall of a thickening snow-storm which had set in the previous midnight. There had evidently been no delay or intermission in the cold, white, silent business; to look out-of-doors was enough to make the flesh seem thin upon the bones.