Down the gravelled walk,—along the highway,—over the river, and up the hill to the village churchyard the long procession moved, and when it backward turned, one of the number was left behind, and the August sunset fell softly upon his early grave. Sadly the mourners, Arthur, Edith and Nina, went to their respective homes, Edith seeking the rest she so much needed, Nina subdued and awed into perfect quiet, sitting with folded hands in the room where her truest friend had died, while Arthur, alone in his chamber, held as it were communion with the dead, who seemed this night to be so near to him.
Swiftly, silently, one by one, the days came and went until it was weeks since Dr. Griswold died, and things at Grassy Spring assumed their former routine. At first Nina was inclined to be melancholy, talking much of the deceased, and appearing at times so depressed that Arthur trembled, lest she should again become unmanageable, wondering what he should do with her now the Dr. was gone. Gradually, however, she recovered her usual health and spirits, appearing outwardly the same; but not so with Arthur, whose thoughts and feelings no one could fathom. It was as if he had locked himself within a wall of ice, which nothing had power to thaw. He saw but little of Edith now; the lessons had been tacitly given up, and, after what she had heard from Dr. Griswold, she could not come to Grassy Spring just as she used to do, so she remained at home, marvelling at the change in Arthur, and wondering if he really loved her, why he did not tell her so. Much of what Dr. Griswold had said she imputed to delirium, and with the certainty that she was beloved, she would not dwell upon anything which made her unhappy, and she waited for the end, now hastening on with rapid strides.
Behind the icy wall which Arthur had built around himself, a fierce storm was blowing, and notwithstanding the many midnight watches kept over Dr. Griswold’s grave, the tempest still raged fearfully, threatening to burst its barriers and carry all before it. But it reached its height at last, and wishing to test his strength, Arthur asked Nina one pleasant night to go with him to Collingwood. She consented readily, and in a few moments they were on their way. They found the family assembled upon the broad piazza, where the full moon shone upon them through the broad leaves of woodbine twining about the massive pillars. Edith sat as usual upon a stool at Richard’s feet, and her face wore a look of disappointment. Thoughts of Eloise Temple had been in her mind the entire day, and sitting there with Richard, she had ventured to ask him again of the young girl in whom she was so much interested. But Richard shook his head. He was reserving Eloise Temple for a future day, and he said to Edith,
“I cannot tell you of her yet, or where she is.”
“When will you then?” and Edith spoke pettishly. “You always put me off, and I don’t see either why you need to be so much afraid of telling me about her, unless her mother was bad, or something.”