Jane, conducted by her parents, having reached another apartment, sat down—her father taking a chair on one side, and her mother on the other.
“My darling,” said Mr. Sinclair, “I will never forget this proof of your obedience to me, on so trying an occasion. I knew I might rely upon my daughter.”
Jane made no reply to this, but sat apparently wrapped up in an ecstacy of calm and unbroken delight. The smile of happiness with which she contemplated Osborne, on taking her last look of him, was still upon her face, and contrasted so strongly with the agony which they knew she must have felt, that her parents, each from an apprehension of alarming the other, feared openly to allude to it, although they felt their hearts sink in dismay and terror.
“Jane, why do you not speak to your papa and me?” said her mother; “speak to us, love, speak to us—if it was only one word.”
She appeared not to hear this, nor to be at all affected by her mother’s voice or words. After the latter spoke she smiled again, and immediately putting up her long white fingers through the ringlets that shaded her cheek, she pulled them down as one would pressing them with slight convulsive energy as they passed through, her fingers.
“Henry, dear, what—what is the matter with her?” inquired her mother, whose face became pale with alarm. “Oh! what is wrong with my child!—she does not know us!—Gracious heaven, whats is this!”
“Jane, my love, wont you speak to your papa?” said Mr. Sinclair. “Speak to me, my darling,—it is I,—it is your own papa that asks you?”
She looked up, and seemed for a moment struggling to recover a consciousness of her situation; but it passed away, and the scarcely perceptible meaning which began almost to become visible in her eye, was again succeeded by that smile which they both so much dreaded to see.
The old man shook his head, and looked with a brow darkened by sorrow, first upon his daughter, and afterwards upon his wife. “My heart’s delight,” he exclaimed, “I fear I have demanded more from your obedience than you could perform without danger to yourself. I wish I had allowed her grief to flow, and not required such an abrupt and unseasonable proof of her duty. It was too severe an injunction to a creature so mild and affectionate,—and would to God that I had not sought it!”