During this time it was hard to say whether Lord Rotherwood was more of a comfort or a torment. He was attached to his cousin with all the ardour of his affectionate disposition, and not one day passed without his appearing at Beechcroft. At first it was always in the parlour at the parsonage that he took up his station, and waited till he could find some means of getting at Claude or his uncle, to hear the last report from them, and if possible to make Claude come out for a walk or ride with him. And once Mr. Mohun caught him standing just outside Mr. Devereux’s door, waiting for an opportunity to make an entrance. He could not, or would not see why Mr. Mohun should allow Claude to run the risk of infection rather than himself, and thus he kept his mother in continual anxiety, and even his uncle could not feel by any means certain that he would not do something imprudent. At last a promise was extracted from him that he would not again enter the parsonage, but he would not gratify Lady Rotherwood so far as to abstain from going to Beechcroft, a place which she began to regard with horror. He now was almost constantly at the New Court, talking over the reports, and quite provoking Emily by never desponding, and never choosing to perceive how bad things really were. Every day which was worse than the last was supposed to be the crisis, and every restless sleep that they heard of he interpreted into the beginning of recovery. At last, however, after ten days of suspense, the report began to improve, and Claude came to the New Court with a more cheerful face, to say that his cousin was munch better. The world seemed immediately to grow brighter, people went about with joyful looks, Lord Rotherwood declared that from the first he had known all would be well, and Lily began to hope that now she had been spared so heavy a punishment, it was a kind of earnest that other things would mend, that she had suffered enough. The future no longer hung before her in such dark colours as before Mr. Devereux’s illness, though still the New Court was in no satisfactory state, and still she had reason to expect that her father and Eleanor would be disappointed and grieved. Thankfulness that Mr. Devereux was recovering, and that Claude had escaped the infection, made her once more hopeful and cheerful; she let the morrow take thought for the things of itself, rejoicing that it was not her business to make arrangements.
CHAPTER XX: THE LITTLE NEPHEW
’You must be father, mother, both,
And uncle, all in one.’