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brilliant, eyes, flushed with fever, resting on its mother's face. Oh, many a tear fell upon those tiny hands, many a prayer was breathed for the unconscious sufferer! whilst day and night, in wearying fatigue, the baroness took her accustomed place. Then deep, heartfelt, was the searing sorrow with which the mother's heart was filled; the link which had bound will and duty together, the child sent to speak of domestic happi. ness and virtuous peace the child of her love—the child of every proud hope for the future—that precious life was flickering like the last spark in a consumed light. Now it seemed to rise, now it fell again ; and although every physician of note was called in aid, the fever preyed upon each vital part, and in convulsive agony the little sufferer expired; then, and then only, the most agonizing burst of sorrow escaped the mother's lips.
She cried, she raved, she screamed, she called upon her babe-her gentle little babe ; she wandered about the house, she fancied she was hushing it to rest, then the arms fell listlessly again—alas ! the babe was not there. Like a spectre she roamed through the house, spiritless, unhappy, broken-hearted; her large eyes, when not swimming in tears, rested heavily, without settling on any particular object, her shining tresses drooped, the bloom died upon her cheeks, but still the baroness was lovely.
From one drawing-room to another the news was carried; some asserted the baroness was raving, others that she was dying ; “ Not at home !" was always the answer to the curious or compassionate, and “ the baroness is no better!" was ever the porter's answer, as hour after hour he received cards.
“ Never mind any person's opinion,” said
Alice Lemington to her lover one afternoon ; “ do, Augustus, go, and see the poor baroness ; ask her if I may come-pray go.”
“Oh, yes, go by all means," said Lady Cunnington ; “ perhaps seeing you will make her weep; your unexpected presence may do her good. I will drive down with you.”
Cunnington required no second summons, —the porter hesitated ; “ Not at home” arose to his lips, but Cunnington gave him no time, he rushed past him, and rapidly ascended the stairs, giving his card to the footman in waiting, and following his steps. The baroness gazed vacantly at the card, but Cunnington felt he must push himself forward; the next moment he had drawn Anna to a seat, and taken her cold hand in his.
Neither spoke for some time; it seemed as if years had elapsed since they had met, and both felt greatly affected. Weakened
as she was by sorrow and recent watching, the baroness's head sunk upon Cunnington's shoulder, and she burst into a torrent of tears. With admirable presence of mind, Cunnington let them flow, until they relieved that sorrowful heart, and the baroness felt easier than she had for many days.
But presently she seemed wandering, she thought Cunnington was her husband. “ The babe is dead, dead—quite dead,” she cried, “ and we have nothing left to love. I can scarcely live now, and you cannot leave me, baron ; what have you to love?”
“I have you to love,” said Cunnington ; artlessly thinking it were perhaps better to humour the baroness's train of thoughts.
The words were being uttered when the baroness's maid entered ; she rarely left her mistress alone, but had gone to fetch her
a glass of wine, when, to her surprise, she heard the words, “I have you to love,” and beheld Cunnington sitting by her mistress, ber hand clasped in his.
Quickly as lightning strikes the tree upon which it falls the waiting-woman treasured the unguarded words,—and Cunnington heard them afterwards repeated under circumstances too distressing to be anticipated.
“Your mistress is much altered,” said the unconscious Cunnington.
“ The baroness is changed,” dryly answered the maid.
""She ought not to be alone.”
The waiting-maid turned away to hide a laugh.