What avails it to describe her—perished as we know that fair form to be, withered in its bloom. Yet she was handsome. It was not in any particular feature; it was in the whole expression of her face and form. Her auburn hair, in its plain quiet braid—her neat and scrupulously plain attire, her mild blue eye, the air of placid resignation about her presence, seemed so lovely, for she bore no outward token of the grief within; she had never wailed or cried her sorrow away; but though her gay smile had passed away forever, she had not become the gloomy misanthrope or the fretful querulous invalid. She had complained to no one. Her old grandfather knew her griefs, but he also knew that it was a subject he could not offer her consolation upon. To aid the suffering as far as her slender means would allow, to tend the couch of sickness, to cheer the desponding heart in its hour of darkness, these were the occupations with which she strove, not to forget her sorrows—that could never be—but to afford an outlet for that love for her fellow creatures which no selfish grief could lessen. And she could smile and speak in cheering tones to others in their hour of woe, shedding over their darkened paths the light of hope, while deep in the fountains of her own heart that sweet flame was extinguished forever on earth, and dust and ashes alone remained.
But over that lovely countenance, so serene and beautiful, the shadow of death had already fallen;—that dread disease that beautifies ere it kills its victims, had placed its fell stamp upon her. Daily her figure became thinner and sharper, her breath grew shorter and a hacking cough commenced, while a hectic flush sometimes came over her pallid cheek—but too plainly warning those who looked upon her, that consumption had marked her for its victim.
Hastily giving the children some victuals she had brought for them, she entered the hovel, furniture there was none;—a chest of tools and a heap of straw was all its contents. The grate had evidently been unconscious of a fire for weeks past,—but it was summer. She shuddered as she looked around. This was the home for which the proud lord of those domains exacted a rent of L10 per year. She was not one, however, to give way to idle speculation when there was good to be done: she opened the shutters, swept the floor, and threw a quilt she had brought with her over the heap of straw, then made the children wash themselves, and proceeded to dress them in some hastily made clothes,