“Ah, I see the way as I never did before,” said Laura, after a moment’s silence in which she seemed in deep thought. “What wonderful love and condescension it was for him, the God-man, to die that painful and shameful death that we—sinful worms of the dust—might live! Oh, I do begin to love him and to hate and abhor my sins that helped nail him to the tree.” With the last words tears coursed down her cheeks. “I want to be his, whether I live or die,” she added; and from that hour a great change came over her; her sufferings were borne with patience and resignation; and when the end came she passed peacefully and quietly away, leaving her bereaved daughter mourning the separation, but not as those without hope of a blessed reunion at some future day, in that land where sin and sorrow, sickness and pain are unknown.
Through all the six long weeks of her mother’s illness at Fairview Evelyn had been a most devoted, tender nurse, scarcely leaving the sick room for an hour by day or by night. She bore up wonderfully until all was over and the worn-out body laid to rest in the quiet grave; but then came the reaction; strength and energy seemed suddenly to forsake her, and thin, pale, sad, and heavy-eyed, she was but the shadow of her former self.
Change of air and scene was the doctor’s prescription. She was very reluctant to leave home and friends for a sojourn in new scenes and among strangers, but receiving an urgent invitation from Captain and Mrs. Raymond to spend some weeks at Woodburn with her loved friend Lucilla, and finding that her uncle and aunt—Dr. Conly also—highly approved, she gladly accepted; all the more so because she had learned that Grandma Elsie too, whom she loved even better than ever for her kindness to the dear departed, was about to spend some days or weeks with her daughter Violet. That was an added attraction to what Evelyn esteemed one of the most delightful places, and inhabited by the dearest, kindest, most lovable people anywhere to be found.
She was most heartily welcomed by the entire family, Lucilla and Grace being particularly joyful over her arrival.
It was delightful spring weather, and family and guests, older and younger, spent much of the time in the beautiful grounds or in driving and riding about the country.
The captain pronounced Eva hardly in a fit condition for study, and for her sake required his daughters Lucilla and Grace to pass only an hour or two daily in the schoolroom; so that they were able to give to Eva as much of their society as he considered desirable for her under the circumstances—seeing that she needed a good deal of quiet rest and sleep in order to regain the youthful vigour she had lost during the exhausting nursing of her invalid mother.
His kindness was highly appreciated by all three, and under its benign influence Eva made rapid improvement in health and spirits, enjoying every day of her sojourn at Woodburn, the Sabbath even more than any other, especially the afternoon study of the Bible in which all took part, from Grandma Elsie and Captain Raymond down to little Ned.