“I was thinking of what might have been,” came struggling from Marian’s pale lips, and Helen felt a throb of pain as she remembered Dr. Grant, and then thought of herself in connection with this sad “Might have been.”
Marian, too, knew the full meaning of those words, as was attested by the gush of tears which dropped so fast on baby’s face that Katy, alarmed for the safety of the crimson cloak wrapped around it for effect, took the child in her own arms, commencing that cooing conversation which shows how much young mothers love their first born. Marian’s tears ceased at last, and after questioning Helen of Silverton and its people, she turned abruptly to Katy, still rocking and talking to her child, and asked:
“What do you intend to call her?”
“Genevra,” Katy said, and simultaneously with that word Marian Hazleton dropped without sound or motion to the floor.
Had Helen and Katy been put upon their oath, both would have testified that even before the answer came, Marian had fainted, just as she did when Helen first went to secure her services for Katy’s bridal wardrobe. This time, however, there was no Dr. Grant at hand, and so the frightened ladies did what they could, bathing her face and chafing her cold hands until the life came slowly back, and with a frightened expression Marian looked around her, asking what had happened?
“Yes, I know now,” she said, as baby’s cry fell on her ear, but restoring her wholly to herself. “Fainting is one of my weaknesses,” she continued, turning to Helen. “You have seen me so before. It is my heart,” and with this explanation she satisfied her visitors, though Katy expressed much solicitude and proposed to send her medical aid.
But Marian declined, and when it was time for Katy to go, she took the child in her own arms again, and as if there was now a new link which bound her to it, she kissed it many times, while in the eyes fastened so lovingly, so wistfully upon its face, there was a strange, yearning look which neither Helen nor Katy could fathom. Certain it is they had no suspicion of the truth, and on their way home they spoke with much concern of these fainting attacks, wondering if nothing could be done to ward them off.
Wilford had wished for a son, and in the first moment of disappointment he had almost been conscious of a half-resentful feeling toward Katy, who had given him only a daughter. A boy, a Cameron heir, was something of which to be proud, especially as Jamie would always remain a helpless cripple; but a little girl, scarcely larger than the last doll with which Katy had played, was a different thing, and it required all Wilford’s philosophy and common sense to keep him from showing his chagrin to the girlish creature, whose love had fastened with an idolatrous grasp upon her child, clinging to it with a devotion which made Helen tremble as she thought what if God should take it from her.