‘He is asleep,’ Mrs. Frost said, as they all rose up.
They felt what that sleep might become.
‘We might as well wish to detain a snow-wreath,’ thought Mr. Holdsworth.
Chaos is come again.—Othello.
That sleep was not unto death. When James and Mary came simultaneously creeping to the door in the grey twilight of the morning, they heard that there had been less pain and more rest, and gradually throughout the day, there was a diminution of the dangerous symptoms, till the trembling hope revived that the patient might be given back again to life.
James was still sadly aggrieved at being forbidden the sick-room, and exceedingly envied Lord Ormersfield’s seat there. He declared, so that Mary doubted whether it were jest or earnest, that the Earl only remained there because society expected it from their relative positions, and that it must retard poor Fitzjocelyn’s recovery to be perpetually basilisked by those cold grey eyes. Mary stood up gallantly for the Earl, who had always been so kind to her, and, on her mother’s authority, vouched for his strong though hidden, feelings; to which Jem replied, ’Aye! he was hiding a strong fear of being too late for the beginning of the Session.’
‘I do not think it right to impute motives,’ said Mary.
‘I would not, Mary, if I could help it,’ said James, ’but through the whole course of my life I have never seen a token that his lordship is worthy of his son. If he were an ordinary, practical, common-place block, apt to support his dignity, he might value him, but all the grace, peculiarity, and conventionality is a mere burthen and vexation, utterly wasted.’
Mary knew that she was a common-place block, and did not wonder at herself for not agreeing with James, but cherishing a strong conviction that the father and son would now leave off rubbing against each other; since no unprejudiced person could doubt of the strong affection of the father, nor of the warm gratitude of the son. In spite of the asperity with which James spoke of the Earl, she was beginning to like him almost as much as she esteemed him. This had not been the case in their childhood, when he used to be praised by the elders for his obedience to his grandmother and his progress in the Northwold Grammar School; but was terribly overbearing with his juniors, and whether he cuffed Louis or led him into mischief, equally distressed her. Grown up, he was peculiarly vif, quick and ready, unselfish in all his ways, and warmly affectionate—very agreeable companion where his sensitiveness was not wounded, and meriting high honour by his deeper qualities. Young as he was, he had already relieved his grandmother from his own maintenance: he had turned to the utmost account his education at the endowed school at Northwold; by sheer diligence, had obtained, first