Pleasant as were the days of their stay at Oakvale, they came at last, like all earthly things, to an end. The warm August weather had passed away, and the September breezes blew cool and fresh, permitting them to ramble about with comfort even during the hours which they had before been obliged to spend entirely in the shade. The seaside party had already been settled at home for a week or two, before it was thought advisable that Amy should be brought back to the city. At last, however, the summons came, and Lucy spent the last two or three days in revisiting for the last time all the favourite haunts where she had spent so many happy hours. She and her friend did not, however, permit themselves to repine at the ending of what had been to them both such a very delightful resting-place in their life-journey; since
“Not enjoyment and not
Is our destined end or way;
But to live, that each to-morrow
Finds us farther than to-day.”
Mary, who had delayed her own return to school on her friend’s account, was to accompany them to town, to begin her last year at Mrs. Wilmot’s.
Amy had seemed so well during their stay at Oakvale, that Lucy had become hopeful of her complete recovery. But Dr. Eastwood warned her that the improvement might be merely temporary, and that in any case it was, in his judgment, impossible that Amy could ever be quite strong and well. “And I don’t know,” he said kindly to Lucy, who felt a sharp pang at the thought of losing her dear little cousin, “that it is well to set your heart on the prolongation of a life which can scarcely be anything but one of weakness and suffering.”
So with many mingled feelings of hope, and fear, and regret, and many kind farewells from all their Oakvale friends, the young party took their departure, and found themselves soon again among city sights and sounds.
An Unexpected Recognition.
a flower that will not die
For lack of leafy screen;
And Christian hope can cheer the eye
That ne’er saw vernal green.
Then be ye sure that love can bless
Even in this crowded loneliness,
Where ever-moving myriads seem to say,
Go! thou art naught to us, nor we to thee; away!”
Mr. Brooke met the young travellers at the station, anxious about his youngest daughter, whose improved appearance he was much pleased to note; and Stella met them at the door with every demonstration of delight. “It has been so dull here without you!” she exclaimed; “the house seems so quiet, after all the fun we have been having at the seaside. I’ve been teasing papa to let me go for you, and I would have gone if you hadn’t come soon!”