Contains some introductory particulars relative to a young gentleman who now arrives upon the scene; and a new adventure which happened to Oliver.
It was almost too much happiness to bear. Oliver felt stunned and stupefied by the unexpected intelligence; he could not weep, or speak, or rest. He had scarcely the power of understanding anything that had passed, until, after a long ramble in the quiet evening air, a burst of tears came to his relief, and he seemed to awaken, all at once, to a full sense of the joyful change that had occurred, and the almost insupportable load of anguish which had been taken from his breast.
The night was fast closing in, when he returned homeward: laden with flowers which he had culled, with peculiar care, for the adornment of the sick chamber. As he walked briskly along the road, he heard behind him, the noise of some vehicle, approaching at a furious pace. Looking round, he saw that it was a post-chaise, driven at great speed, and as the horses were galloping, and the road was narrow, he stood leaning against a gate until it should have passed him.
As it dashed on, Oliver caught a glimpse of a man in a white nightcap, whose face seemed familiar to him, although his view was so brief that he could not identify the person. In another second or two, the nightcap was thrust out of the chaise-window, and a stentorian voice bellowed to the driver to stop: which he did, as soon as he could pull up his horses. Then, the nightcap once again appeared: and the same voice called Oliver by his name.
Here! cried the voice. Oliver, what's the news? Miss Rose! Master O-li-ver!
Is it you, Giles? cried Oliver, running up to the chaisedoor.
Giles popped out his nightcap again, preparatory to making some reply, when he was suddenly pulled back by a young gentleman who occupied the other corner of the chaise, and who eagerly demanded what was the news.
In a word! cried the gentleman, Better or worse?
Better much better! replied Oliver, hastily.
Thank Heaven! exclaimed the gentleman. You are sure?
Quite, sir, replied Oliver. The change took place only a few hours ago; and Mr. Losberne says, that all danger is at an end.
The gentleman said not another word, but, opening the chaise-door, leaped out, and taking Oliver hurriedly by the arm, led him aside.
You are quite certain? There is no possibility of any mistake on your part, my boy, is there? demanded the gentleman in a tremulous voice. Do not deceive me, by awakening hopes that are not to be fulfilled.
I would not for the world, sir, replied Oliver. Indeed you may believe me. Mr. Losberne's words were, that she would live to bless us all for many years to come. I heard him say so.
The tears stood in Oliver's eyes as he recalled the scene which was the beginning of so much happiness; and the gentleman turned his face away, and remained silent, for some minutes. Oliver thought he heard him sob, more than once; but he feared to interrupt him by any fresh remark for he could well guess what his feelings were and so stood apart, feigning to be occupied with his nosegay.
All this time, Mr. Giles, with the white nightcap on, had been sitting on the steps of the chaise, supporting an elbow on each knee, and wiping his eyes with a blue cotton pockethandkerchief dotted with white spots. That the honest fellow had not been feigning emotion, was abundantly demonstrated by the very red eyes with which he regarded the young gentleman, when he turned round and addressed him.
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