She gave the desired promise and he stole softly from the room; but not to join his wife till some moments of solitude had enabled him so to conquer his emotion that he could appear before her with a calm and untroubled countenance.
Mr. and Mrs. Dinsmore passed into the boudoir as he left it. Rose had just learned from her husband of his talk of that evening with Dr. Conly, and what the physician had then told him of his daughter’s condition and the trial awaiting her in the near future.
Rose was full of sympathy for Elsie, and so overcome at the thought of the trial she must so soon pass through that she could scarcely speak.
They clung to each other in a long, tender embrace, Rose shedding tears, Elsie calm and quiet.
“You will let me be with you, dear Elsie?” she said at last. “Oh, how willingly I would help you bear it if I could!”
“Dear mamma, how kind you are and have always been to me!” exclaimed the low sweet voice. “Your presence will be a great support while consciousness remains, but after that I would have you spared the trial.
“Don’t fear for me; I know that it will all be well. How glad I am that should I be taken you will be left to comfort my dear father and children. Yet I think that I shall be spared. Arthur holds out a strong hope of a favorable termination.
“So, dear father,” turning to him and putting her hand in his, “be comforted. Be strong and of a good courage! Do not let anxiety for me rob you of your needed rest and sleep.”
“For your dear sake, my darling, I will try to follow your advice,” he answered, with emotion, as in his turn he folded her to his heart and bade her good-night.
The next morning found Mrs. Travilla calm and peaceful, even cheerful, ready for either life or death. She was up at her usual early hour, and Rosie and Walter, coming in for their accustomed half hour of Bible reading with mamma, found her at her writing-desk just finishing a note to Violet.
“Dear mamma,” exclaimed Walter, in a tone of delight, “you are looking so much better and brighter this morning. I was really troubled about you last night lest you were going to be ill; you were so pale, and grandpa looked so worried.”
“Grandpa is always easily frightened about mamma if she shows the slightest indication of illness,” said Rosie; “as indeed we all are, because she is so dear and precious; our very greatest earthly treasure.
“Mamma dearest, I am so rejoiced that you are not really sick!” she added, dropping on her knees beside her mother’s chair, clasping her arms about her, and kissing her again and again with ardent affection.
“I, too,” Walter said, taking his station on her other side, putting an arm round her neck, and pressing his lips to her cheek.
She returned their caresses with words of mother love, tears shining in her eyes at the thought that this might prove almost her last opportunity.