For weeks after, she continually fell into reverie. In her day dreams she wandered through the saloons and corridors of the old chateau, where her mother had spent so many years, chequered with sunshine and shade. She rambled over the park and cooled her fevered head and hands in the water that dripped from the tresses of the marble Aphrodite. Fancy took her over the route of foreign travel, her mother had pursued with the Count de Rossillon. She longed herself to visit those regions of classic and romantic interest. During the long, golden, September afternoons, she spent hours, in the Madonna room, questioning her mother anew respecting the scenes and events of her past life, and listening eagerly to her replies. The young examine distant objects as through a prism. Adele’s imagination invested these scenes and events with rainbow splendors and revelled in the wealth and beauty, she had herself partially created. The new world thus opened to her was infinitely superior to the one in which she held her commonplace, humdrum existence. She never wearied of her mother’s reminiscences of the past. Each fresh description, each recalled item of that history, added to the extent and the charms of her new world.
Mrs. Dubois herself felt a degree of pleasure in thus living over again her former life with one, who entered artlessly and enthusiastically into its joys and sorrows. She also experienced an infinite relief in pouring out to her sympathizing child the regrets and longings which had, for so long a period, been closely pent in her own breast. Mother and daughter were drawn nearer to each other day by day, and those hours of sweet communion were among the purest, the happiest of their lives.
Nearly two weeks had elapsed since the night when Mr. Dubois had brought Mr. Brown, in a sick and fainting condition, into his house. That gentleman had lain very ill ever since. The disease was typhoid fever; the patient was in a critical state, and nothing now but the utmost care and quiet could save his life.
“What directions have you left for to-day, Dr. Wright?” said Adele to the physician, as he came one morning from the sick-room.
“Mrs. McNab has the programme”, he replied.
“Will you please repeat it to me, sir? Mrs. McNab has been called elsewhere, and will not have charge of the gentleman to-day”.
Mrs. Dubois looked at Adele with some surprise. She made no remark, however, as Dr. Wright immediately began to give the directions for his patient to that young lady.
When he had taken leave and closed the door, Adele turned to her mother and said, “I have suspected for several days that things were not going on properly in that sick-room. Last night, I became convinced of it. I cannot stop to tell you about it now, mamma, as there is no time to lose with our invalid. But Mrs. McNab must decamp. I have it all arranged, and I promise you I will not offend Aunt Patty, but will dismiss her peaceably. Do trust her to me once, mamma. Please go now and tell her there is a message waiting for her in the dining-room. Stay with Mr. Brown just one half hour, and you shall have no more trouble to-day”.