“No, I shan’t,” said Henrietta shortly, “never mind me.”
“But I must, dear Henrietta. If you would but—”
“I can’t go to bed,” replied Henrietta, “thank you, Bee, never mind—”
Beatrice stood still, much distressed at her own inability to be of any service, and pained far more by the sight of Henrietta’s grief than by the unkind rejection of herself. “Papa thinks there is great hope,” said she abruptly.
“Mamma does not,” said Henrietta, edging away from her cousin as if to put an end to the subject.
Beatrice almost wrung her hands. O this wilfulness of grief, how hard it was to contend with it! At last there was a knock at the door—it was grandmamma, suspecting that they were still up. Little recked Beatrice of the scolding that fell on herself for not having been in bed hours ago; she was only rejoiced at the determination that swept away all Henrietta’s feeble opposition. The bell was rung, Bennet was summoned, grandmamma peremptorily ordered her to be undressed, and in another half-hour the cousins were lying side by side, Henrietta’s lethargy had become a heavy sleep, Beatrice was broad awake, listening to every sound, forming every possible speculation on the future, and to her own overstretched fancy seeming actually to feel the thoughts chasing each other through her throbbing head.
“Half-past one,” said Mr. Geoffrey Langford, as if it was a mere casual observation, though in reality it was the announcement that the fatal twelve hours had passed more than half-an-hour since.
There was no answer, but he heard a slight movement, and though carefully avoiding any attempt to penetrate the darkness around the sick bed, he knew full well that his sister was on her knees, and when he again heard her voice in reply to some rambling speech of her son, it had a tremulous tone, very unlike its former settled hopelessness.
Again, when Philip Carey paid his morning visit, she studied the expression of his face with anxious, inquiring, almost hopeful eyes, the crushed heart-broken indifference of yesterday had passed away; and when the expedience of obtaining further advice was hinted at, she caught at the suggestion with great eagerness, though the day before her only answer had been, “As you think right.” She spoke so as to show the greatest consideration for the feelings of Philip Carey, then with her usual confiding spirit, she left the selection of the person to be called in entirely to him, to her brother and father-in-law, and returned to her station by Frederick, who had already missed and summoned her.