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body and weariness of spirit. The patient had been brought to just that point of prostration in which it would have seemed to the unconcerned humanitarian, looking at the case from a common-sense standpoint, a mercy to let him slip away into the untroubled region of death; a mercy to loose the tired soul from that corpse-like clay, which had no sense save sense of pain. And perhaps, in these sad days, Flora's worst agony was to see the torture inflicted upon the wearied sufferer by those ever-changing medicaments which the doctors prescribed; blistering, poulticing, fomenting that feeble body; administering drugs which seemed to have no effect beyond the annoyance they inflicted upon the patient; assailing him, hour after hour, as he lay there moaning out feebly that he wanted only to be left alone.
Never once in that awful period of suspense did Mrs. Ollivant reproach her daughter-in-law by so much as one word. But there were looks the agonised mother could not forbear; looks of infinite pathos, which said plain as plainest words, Why did you let this come to pass? Why, if you loved him so well, did you abandon him to such desolation ?'
For nearly three weeks Flora watched beside her husband's bed; sitting for hours with his burning hand held in hers; motionless as marble; breathing restrainedly, lest a too audible breath should pierce the filmy veil which divided his troubled sleep from waking. And during all that time the sick man was for the most part unconscious of her presence, indifferent whose hand held his own, whose gentle touch smoothed his pillow or laid lotion-steeped linen on his burning forehead. There had been rare flashes of sense in the midst of delirium-moments in which Cuthbert Ollivant had recognised his wife, and called her by her name; but memory was for the time extinguished. He accepted her presence as a natural thing-knew not that they had ever been parted.
Thus the burden of life went on growing daily heavier, as it seemed to Flora, for three weeks, and then one night-one neverto-be-forgotten night—when she had been praying fervently for hours at a stretch alone in the dressing-room adjoining the sick chamber, where she was supposed to be taking her rest upon the sofa, while Mrs. Ollivant and the night-nurse kept watch-just at that awful hour betwixt night and morning, when the destroying angel is said to be busiest, the change came; and it was a change for the better.
Cuthbert Ollivant awoke from a lethargic slumber, and looked at his mother, with a clearer look in the heavy eyes than she had seen there for a long time. He asked for some drink-wine-anything. The nurse brought him a glass of champagne and soda-water, the only form of nourishment which he had taken for days past, and even this had been taken most reluctantly. To-night he drained the glass with avidity.
'That was good,' he said; and then, looking about, he asked, 'Where is Flora ?'
I have made her lie down, dear. She has been watching by your bed so long; she has been so patient and devoted.' Something told the mother that no speech could be so welcome to her son as praise of that idolised wife. 6 Yes; poor child, poor child! I have been ill a long time-so long. That medicine Bayne gave me last is no use. Chloratehy-hydrochlorate. I am a little better to-night'-feeling his pulse-feeble, very feeble, but not so quick.'
He turned upon his pillow, assisted by the tearful mother, and dropped asleep again. Flora was standing in the doorway between the two rooms watching.
What did this change mean? Both women asked themselves that question. Was it only the prelude of the end, the last flicker, the final rally of expiring nature? They could only wonder, and wait, and pray.
It was not the end. From that hour Dr. Ollivant's condition improved. Very slow, very tedious, and beyond measure wearisome to the patient, was the process of recovery, the slow return of strength, the long interval during which the slightest exertion was a painful labour. But through all Cuthbert Ollivant was happy; for now, for the first time in his life, he was very sure that his wife loved him.
As soon as he was able to be moved, she went with him to Ventnor alone; the patient mother contented to resume her quiet post in the background of her son's life, now that he had his idol again.
They occupied a villa near the sea, and some distance from the town; a solitary villa, from which they looked out upon the green hills and the blue water, and could fancy themselves alone upon some enchanted isle, fair as the romantic land of Prospero and Miranda. Here, as strength gradually returned, and recovered health became a certainty, Dr. Ollivant and his wife were utterly happy. This was better than their honeymoon, Cuthbert would say sometimes, with the serenest smile that his wife had ever seen upon his face.
She had told him all about that meeting with Walter Leyburne at Muckross, as soon as he was strong enough to bear any talk upon agitating subjects. She had told him how her heart had yearned for him through all that time of severance; how, her first passion past, there had been no such thing as hatred or scorn in her mind; only bitterest regret that he, whom she had held so noble, should have stooped to deceive.
And then Heaven had mercy upon my blindness, and I learned that you were free from the burden of Walter's death. God had
spared you that misery, while chastising you for your weak yielding to temptation, and punishing me for my ingratitude to you.'
'My love, it was not ingratitude,' he answered; it was but the natural revulsion of a truthful and noble mind, intolerant of untruthfulness.'
Flora told her husband also of that interview with Mrs. Gurner; confessing with deepest humility the taint upon her maternal ancestry.
Are you not ashamed of your wife, Cuthbert, now that you know she is the granddaughter of a felon ?'
My dearest love, in the first place, I should be indisposed to believe this Mrs. Gurner without confirmatory evidence; and in the second, I should love you just as fondly, honour you just as much, if your maternal grandfather had been Thurtell the murderer, or Fauntleroy the fraudulent banker.'
So you see, dearest,' said the doctor, one day, when he had been speaking of his great happiness, Providence has been kind to a sinner who deemed the world well lost for love.'
JOINT-STOCK WINE COMPANY.
Begistered in May, 1854. Formed for the supply of pure wine to clubs, public establishments, or private families, at lowest prices.
OFFICES-200, REGENT STREET, W., LONDON. OKLLARS AND STORES-51, 52, 53, 54, AND 57, KING STREET, REGENT STREET, W., AND AT BORDEAUX. Directors.
ALEX. BEATTI, Esq., M.D.
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Begs respectfully to call the attention of the Public to his immense Stock,
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"A VISIT TO EPPS'S COCOA MANUFACTORY.-Through the kindness of Messrs. EPPS, I recently had an opportunity of seeing the many complicated and varied processes the Cacao bean passes through ere it is sold for public use; and being both interested and highly pleased with what I saw during my visit to the manufactory, I thought a brief account of the Cacao, and the way it is manufactured by Messrs. EPPS to fit it for a wholesome, and nutritious beverage, might be of interest to the readers of Land and Water.'"Land and Water.
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