‘That is just what I wish,’ said Mr. Devereux.
’Jane borrowed maxims from a doubting school, And took for truth the test of ridicule.’
The question of Jane’s confirmation was decided in an unexpected manner; for the day after Mr. Mohun’s conversation with his nephew she was attacked by a headache and sore throat, spent a feverish night, and in the morning was so unwell that a medical man was sent for from Raynham. On his arrival he pronounced that she was suffering from scarlet fever, and Emily began to feel the approach of the same complaint.
Phyllis and Adeline were shut up in the drawing-room, and a system of quarantine established, which was happily brought to a conclusion by a note from Mrs. Weston, who kindly begged that they might be sent to her at Broomhill, and Mr. Mohun gladly availing himself of the offer, the little girls set off, so well pleased to make a visit alone, as almost to forget the occasion of it. Mrs. Weston had extended her invitation to Lilias, but she begged to be allowed to remain with her sisters, and Mr. Mohun thought that she had been already so much exposed to the infection that it was useless for her to take any precautions.
She was therefore declared head nurse; and it was well that she had an energetic spirit, and so sweet a temper, that she was ready to sympathise with all Emily’s petulant complaints, and even to find fault with herself for not being in two places at once. Two of the maids were ill, and the whole care of Emily and Jane devolved upon her, with only the assistance of Esther.
Emily was not very seriously ill, but Jane’s fever was very high, and Lily thought that her father was more anxious than he chose to appear. Of Jane’s own thoughts little could be guessed; she was often delirious, and at all times speaking was so painful that she said as little as possible.
Lily’s troubles seemed at their height one Sunday afternoon, while her father was at church. She had been reading the Psalms and Lessons to Emily, and she then rose to return to Jane.
‘Do not go,’ entreated Emily.
‘I will send Esther.’
‘Esther is of no use.’
’And therefore I do not like to leave her so long alone with Jane. Pray spare me a little smile.’
‘Then come back soon.’
Lily was glad to escape with no more objections. She found Jane complaining of thirst, but to swallow gave her great pain, and she required so much attendance for some little time, that Emily’s bell was twice rung before Esther could be spared to go to her.
She soon came back, saying, ’Miss Mohun wants you directly, Miss Lilias.’
‘Tell her I will come presently,’ said Lily, who had one hand pressed on Jane’s burning temples, while the other was sprinkling her with ether.
‘Stay,’ said Jane, faintly, and Esther left the room.