Imágenes de páginas

father's sideboard, but in the gay party where she had reigned a bright, particular star. The now Mrs. Willard, during the years of her widowhood, had resided with the family of her brother-in-law; her extravagance and intemperance had rendered her a burden to him, insomuch that he was ready to negotiate with friend or foe, who would rid him of one whose very presence had become loathsome. This gentleman, being an acquaintance of Mr. Willard, lost no time in recommending his sister-in-law to him. He visited her immediately, and was pleased with her appearance, even more than pleased-he was charmed. The brother and sister wanted everything made sure as soon as possible ; they well knew that it was impossible to keep Laura's faults behind the curtain long. By cunning management, in less than a week, Mrs. Stillstiver became Mrs. Willard. In two years we find her sleeping soundly in a state of intoxication, her only child sick, and left to the care of strangers.

It was long after midnight when Mr. Willard reached his home; he entered the house cautiously, and lost no time in making his way to the nursery, where he found the idol of his heart lying in his beautiful cradle in a disturbed sleep. He examined his head carefully, and discovering there were strong indications of congestion, ordered ice-water to be freely used; on finding his little feet very cold, he had draughts applied; the watcher could not prevail upon him to lie down, he was constantly over and around the child, shedding bitter tears -the better portion of his nature was called into action. A few hours before he was the indignant husband, but now the weeping father, with a soul


as tender and gentle as that of a

In the morning Ashbel's symptoms were more favorable, insomuch that he returned his father's caresses with a smile of recognition.

When Ashbel's mother entered the room late in the morning, she seemed not a little surprised to find her husband present.

“ You must have drove all night, Mr. Willard, to have got home so soon.”

He answered,“ After I heard Ashbel was sick I drove


fast." “How did you hear ?" inquired Mrs. Willard, somewhat surprised.

“ The Rev. Mr. Bradley informed me of his sickness.”

"I was not aware that they had been here."

A shade of indignation passed over the face of the husband, who said,

66 That

6 Our child is very sick, and needs the best of care."

“Dr. Spencer was here yesterday.”

Mr. Willard asked his wife if she did not think best to send for Dr. Livingston.

“Why my husband, Dr. Spencer has always attended Ashbel, and I think he understands his constitution better than a stranger would.”

may be so, to be sure, but I tell you, Laura, I am distressed, I think our boy will die-if he does, I hope I shall go too."

“ You always talk and think just so if anything ails Ashbel; I should think he was the very life-spring of your existence." You may

well think so, for you know that he is the only one in God's universe that loves me.

“Why, my dear, I love you."
“ Well if you do, go and fix your-



up before the Doctor gets here."

Mrs. Willard had lost much of her self-respect, and to the annoyance of her husband, paid very little attention to her personal appearance.

Dr. Spencer entered the sick room, at this time. “Ha ha, you have got home again, neighbor! I should think that you had been out on a spree,

and drawn through an auger-hole ; you had better go out into the bar-room, and take a glass of brandy, and you will look twenty-five per cent. better," bowing as gracefully as his awkwardness would admit of, to Mrs. Willard.

“ Curse the brandy, I wish I had never heard of it. It will prove the ruin of us all; but for heaven's sake don't fire another artillery before you look at your patient,” said Mr. Willard.

The Dr., seating himself beside the child, took into one of his hands the

« AnteriorContinuar »