Calmly and without a tear, she then left the parlor, and proceeded to the garden, where she began to dress and ornament the hive which contained the swarm that Connor had brought to her on the day their mutual attachment was first disclosed to each other.
“Father,” said John, when she had gone, “I’m afraid that Una’s heart is broken, or if not broken, that she won’t survive his conviction long—it’s breaking fast—for my part, in her present state, I neither will nor can leave her.”
The affectionate father made no reply, but, putting his handkerchief to his eyes, wept, as did her mother, in silent but bitter grief.
“I cannot spake about it, nor think of it, John,” said he, after some time, “but we must do what we can for her.”
“If anything happens her,” said the mother, “I’d never get over it. Oh marciful Savior! how could we live widout her?”
“I would rather see her in tears,” said John—“I would rather see her in outrageous grief a thousand times than in the calm but ghastly resolution with which she is bearing herself up against the trial of this day. If he’s condemned to death, I’m afraid that either her health or reason will sink under it, and, in that case, God pity her and us, for how, as you say, mother, could we afford to lose her? Still let us hope for the best. Father, it’s time to prepare; get the car ready. I am going to the garden, to hear what the poor thing has to say to me, but I will be with you soon.”
Her brother found her, as we have said, engaged calmly, and with a melancholy pleasure, in adorning the hive which, on Connor’s account, had become her favorite. He was not at all sorry that she had proposed this short interview, for, as his hopes of Connor’s acquittal were but feeble, if, indeed, he could truly be said to entertain any, he resolved, by delicately communicating his apprehensions, to gradually prepare her mind for the worst that might happen.
On hearing his step she raised her head, and advancing towards the middle of the garden, took his arm, and led him towards the summer—house in which Connor and she had first acknowledged their love. She gazed wistfully upon it after they entered, and wrung her hands, but still shed no tears.
“Una,” said her brother, “you had something to say to me; what is it, darling?”
She glanced timidly at him, and blushed.
“You won’t be angry with me, John,” she replied; “would it be proper for me to—to go”—
“What! to be present at the trial? Dear Una, you cannot think of it. It would neither be proper nor prudent, and you surely would not be considered indelicate? Besides, even were it not so, your strength is unequal to it. No, no, Una dear; dismiss it from your thoughts.”
“I fear I could not stand it, indeed, John, even if it were proper; but I know not what to do; there is a weight like death upon my heart. If I could shed a tear it would relieve me; but I cannot.”