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Fanny, my own sweet sister !” exclaimed he, “ forgive me! I have not been a kind brother to you."
“I do not remember that I have any thing to forgive,” she replied, pressing his hand to her lips. “I have not long to live, but since you are restored to our mother and Susan, I shall die contented.
“ Do not speak of dying, Fanny ; I trust we shall all live together happily many years," said her brother.
“Just as it may please God," fervently and solemnly said the lovely girl. “I am resigned to his holy will."
From this time she began to recover. By that wonderful sympathy * that exists between body and mind, no sooner was the latter relieved from the weight of anxiety that had long pressed upon it, than the physical system was equally relieved. She was soon restored to perfect health.
* The celebrated Dr. Rush relates the following anecdote : During the time that I passed at a country school in Cecil county in Maryland, I often went, on a holyday, with my schoolmates, to see an eagle's nest, upon the summit of a dead tree in the neighbourhood of the school, during the incubation of the bird. The daughter of the farmer in whose field the tree stood, and with whom I became acquainted, married and settled in this city (Philadelphia) about forty years ago. In our occasional interviews, we now and then spoke of the innocent haunts and rural pleasures of our youth, and among others of the eagle's nest in her father's field.
A few years ago I was called to visit this woman when she was in the lowest stage of typhus fever. Upon entering the room I caught her eye, and with a cheerful tone of voice said, only, “The eagle's nest.' She seized my hand, without being able to speak, and discovered strong emotions of pleasure in her countenance, probably from a sudden association of all her early enjoyments with the words which I uttered. From that time she began to recover. She is now living, and seldom fails, when we meet, to salute me with the echo of The eagle's nest.'"
JOSEPH's letter, from Marseilles, had not reached Mrs. Brandon, and not one word had she heard from him during his absence. She did not know even in what ship he had embarked, and her anxiety for him had been unceasing.
Soon after he left home, finding her affairs much embarrassed, she leased her own pretty house, and took the small cottage. In this way she thought she should be able to pay off, in time, the debts which Joseph's foolish extravagance had left upon her hands.
Fanny had been a long time in delicate health, and her illness was increased by the troubles that had weighed down her youthful spirits. Sorrow, and sympathy with her mother and Fanny, had softened the harshness of Susan's character.
“Why, Sue," said Joseph, a few days after his return," I should scarcely know you; really you are much improved.”
"I might say the same of yourself, Joseph," was the reply. “I should hardly recognize your former self in your conversation, unless when you boast of that "famous French dinner-party,' or speak grandiloquently of your great friends,the “Don and Donna Francesco Rebeiro.""
“I do not intend to speak boastingly; I thank you for the hint,” he gently replied, “and hope I shall profit by it. I am truly grateful to those excellent people. I intend learning French and Portugese as soon as possible, that I may converse with them whenever I visit them again. I used to feel like a complete simpleton when they were all talking around, and I was not able to understand a single sentence. I am going to set myself about some employment whenever I have an opportunity, that I may no longer be a burden to our kind mother. I hope to relieve the pressure that is upon her, so that she can go back again to her own house."
“ Bravely spoken, Joseph,” said Susan, with a little of her former sarcastic manner.
“ And bravely, by God's help, shall it be done,” warmly replied Joseph.
The purse that Joseph received from Dr. Wood contained one hundred dollars, all of which remained, excepting the amount of his fare from New York.
The expenses of Fanny's illness had pressed heavily upon Mrs. Brandon. Joseph told her of the generous loan he had received, and insisted that she should make use of half of it, while he would carefully use the remainder until he found some employment.
"I have been so entirely occupied since your return,” said Mrs. Brandon, “ that I had quite forgotten to tell you that your Uncle Jones has removed to Boston, and that he is in want of a clerk in his counting-house. Go to him next week, and state your wishes and intentions, and I will write to him at the same time. I have no doubt you can have the place, if you wish to be a merchant.”
“I wish for any honorable employment, whereby I can maintain myself respectably, and in time support you and my sisters in a comfortable manner,” replied Joe ; " and as Fanny is so much better, and I have already been home a fortnight, I will go, if you think best, to-morrow.”