expressed on the part of all those who had always been so good to me. I could weep in the exquisite felicity of my heart, and be as happy in my weakness as ever I had been in my strength.
By and by, my strength began to be restored. Instead of lying, with so strange a calmness, watching what was done for me, as if it were done for some one else whom I was quietly sorry for, I helped it a little, and so on to a little more and much more, until I became useful to myself, and interested, and attached to life again.
How well I remember the pleasant afternoon when I was raised in bed with pillows for the first time, to enjoy a great tea-drinking with Charley! The little creature sent into the world, surely, to minister to the weak and sick was so happy, and so busy, and stopped so often in her preparations to lay her head upon my bosom, and fondle me, and cry with joyful tears she was so glad, she was so glad! that I was obliged to say, Charley, if you go on in this way, I must lie down again, my darling, for I am weaker than I thought I was! So Charley became as quiet as a mouse, and took her bright face here and there, across and across the two rooms, out of the shade into the divine sunshine, and out of the sunshine into the shade, while I watched her peacefully. When all her preparations were concluded and the pretty tea-table with its little delicacies to tempt me, and its white cloth, and its flowers, and everything so lovingly and beautifully arranged for me by Ada down-stairs, was ready at the bed-side, I felt sure I was steady enough to say something to Charley that was not new to my thoughts.
First, I complimented Charley on the room; and indeed, it was so fresh and airy, so spotless and neat, that I could scarce believe I had been lying there so long. This delighted Charley, and her face was brighter than before.
Yet, Charley, said I looking round, I miss something, surely, that I am accustomed to?
Poor little Charley looked round too, and pretended to shake her head, as if there were nothing absent.
Are the pictures all as they used to be? I asked her.
Every one of them; miss, said Charley.
And the furniture, Charley?
Except where I have moved it about, to make more room, miss.
And yet, said I, I miss some familiar object. Ah, I know what it is, Charley! Its the looking-glass.
Charley got up from the table, making as if she had forgotten something, and went into the next room; and I heard her sob there.
I had thought of this very often. I was now certain of it. I could thank God that it was not a shock to me now. I called Charley back; and when she came at first pretending to smile, but as she drew nearer to me, looking grieved I took her in my arms, and said, It matters very little, Charley. I hope I can do without my old face very well.
I was presently so far advanced as to be able to sit up in a great chair, and even giddily to walk into the adjoining room, leaning on Charley. The mirror was gone from its usual place in that room too; but what I had to bear, was none the harder to bear for that.
My guardian had throughout been earnest to visit me, and there was now no good reason why I should deny myself that happiness. He came one morning; and when he first came in, could only hold me in his embrace, and say, My dear, dear girl! I had long known who could know better! what a deep fountain of affection and generosity his heart was; and was it not worth my trivial suffering and change to fill such a place in it? O yes! I thought. He has seen me, and he loves me better than he did; he has seen me, and is even fonder of me than he was before; and what have I to mourn for!
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