She then kissed her with an emotion of sorrow for which she could scarcely account, and passed down to the room wherein the other members of the family were assembled.
“I know not what is wrong with her,” she observed, in reply to their enquiries. “She declares she is perfectly well, and that her mind is not at all depressed.”
“In that I agree with her,” said William; “her eye occasionally sparkled with something that resembled joy more than depression.”
“She begged of me to let her sleep alone to-night,” continued the mother; “so that you, Agnes, must lie in the closet bed.”
“She must, certainly, be unwell then,” replied Agnes, “or she would hardly leave me. Indeed I know that her spirits have not been so good of late as usual. Formerly we used to chat ourselves asleep, but for some weeks past she has been quite changed, and seldom spoke at all after going to bed. Neither did she sleep so well latterly as she used to.”
“She is, indeed, a delicate flower,” observed her father, “and a very slight blast, poor thing, will make her droop—droop perhaps into an early grave!”
“Do not speak so gloomily, my dear Henry,” said her mother. “What is there in her particular case to justify any such apprehension?”
“Her health has been always good, too,” observed Maria; “but the fact is, we love her so affectionately that many things disturb us about her which we would never feel if we loved her less.”
“Mary,” said her father, “you have in a few words expressed the true state of our feelings with respect to the dear child. We shall find her, I trust, in good health and spirits in the morning; and please the Divine Will, all will again be well—but what’s the matter with you, Agnes?”
Mr. Sinclair had, a moment before, observed that an expression of thought, blended with sorrow, overshadowed the face of his second daughter. The girl, on hearing her father’s enquiry, looked mournfully upon him, whilst the tears ran silently down her cheeks.
“I will go to her,” said she, “and stay with her if she lets me. Oh, papa, why talk of an early grave for her? How could we lose her? I could not—and I cannot bear even to think of it.”
She instantly rose and proceeded to Jane’s room, but in a few minutes returned, saying, “I found her at prayers, papa.”
“God bless her, God bless her! I knew she would not voluntarily neglect so sacred a duty. As she wishes to be alone, it is better not to disturb her; solitude and quiet will no doubt contribute to her composure, and it is probably for this purpose that she wishes to be left to herself.”