“As you have asked me a plain question, I think it my duty to give you a candid answer. I know not,” continued the physician, “how it might have been had I been called six months ago, but now I fear the case of Mrs. Roscom is beyond the reach of medicine. I will gladly do my utmost for her, but I fear that a few months, it may be a few weeks, will terminate her life.”
This was fearful tidings to me, as I had strongly hoped that the opinion of the physician would have been more favorable. When I became outwardly composed, I rejoined my mother, in company with Aunt Patience. My mother was not aware that Aunt Patience had held any conversation with the physician regarding her illness. She seemed much pleased at the prospect of my return home. I informed her, before leaving, that she might expect my return in the course of two or three days.
She failed rapidly from this time; and, shortly after I returned to my home, was obliged to give up all employment, however light. We often reminded her of the physician’s wish, that she should walk in the open air; but it was seldom she felt equal to the task of walking even a short distance.
Mrs. Leighton and Laura often called, and brought many little delicacies to tempt the appetite of my invalid mother. Mrs. Leighton told my mother that she would be happy to send her carriage as often as she felt strong to ride out. My mother replied that on fine days she would gladly avail herself of her kind offer; and, so as long as my mother was able, the carriage was sent every fine day to give her the benefit of a short ride in the open air.
I presume that, on ordinary occasions, I should have felt some embarrassment in receiving a visit from Mrs. Leighton and Laura in my home, which appeared so humble, compared to their own elegant residence; but now it never cost me a thought, for, in the presence of a great sorrow, all trifling considerations vanish away.
It was in the month of May that I returned home, and by the last of June my mother was entirely confined to her room, and much of the time to her bed. She suffered much from nervous restlessness, and at times her cough was very distressing. She would allow no one, as yet, to sit with her during the night, but I gained her consent that I might sleep on a lounge which stood in her room.
There was no end to the kindness we received from the Leightons; no day passed without some one of the family calling to enquire for my mother.
Soon after this time my mother appeared much better. She was able to sit up more than formerly, and her cough was far less troublesome. I remember one day saying to Aunt Patience, when we chanced to be alone, that I began to think my mother would yet recover, she seemed so much better.
“My dear Clara,” she replied, “I hope your mother may recover; but you must not build hopes which I fear will never be realised. This seeming change for the better is only one of these deceitful turns of her disease by which so many are deceived. I do not wish to alarm you needlessly, but I dare not cherish any hopes of her recovery.”