Oh, yes! You know I dont mean that it will be a comfort to leave you; that will be anything but a comfort. But, after all, a country town is a country town, and London is London. You need not smile at my truisms; Ive always had a sympathy with M. de la Palisse
sang she, in so gay a manner that she puzzled Molly, as she often did, by her change of mood from the gloomy decision with which she had refused to accept the invitation only half-an-hour ago. She suddenly took Molly round the waist, and began waltzing about the room with her, to the imminent danger of the various little tables, loaded with objets dart (as Mrs. Gibson delighted to call them) with which the drawing-room was crowded. She avoided them, however, with her usual skill; but they both stood still at last, surprised at Mrs. Gibsons surprise, as she stood at the door, looking at the whirl going on before her.
Upon my word, I only hope you are not going crazy, both of you! Whats all this about, pray?
Only because Im so glad Im going to London, mamma, said Cynthia demurely.
Im not sure if its quite the thing for an engaged young lady to be so much beside herself at the prospect of gaiety. In my time, our great pleasure in our lovers absence was in thinking about them.
I should have thought that would have given you pain, because you would have had to remember that they were away, which ought to have made you unhappy. Now, to tell you the truth, just at the moment I had forgotten all about Roger. I hope it wasnt very wrong. Osborne looks as if he did all my share as well as his own of the fretting after Roger. How ill he looked yesterday!
Yes, said Molly; I didnt know if any one besides me had noticed it. I was quite shocked.
Ah, said Mrs. Gibson, Im afraid that young man wont live longvery much afraid, and she shook her head ominously.
Oh, what will happen if he dies? exclaimed Molly, suddenly sitting down, and thinking of that strange, mysterious wife who never made her appearance, whose very existence was never spoken aboutand Roger away too!
Well, it would be very sad, of course, and we should all feel it very much, Ive no doubt; for Ive always been very fond of Osborne; in fact, before Roger became, as it were my own flesh and blood, I liked Osborne better; but we must not forget the living, dear Molly, (for Mollys eyes were filling with tears at the dismal thoughts presented to her). Our dear good Roger would, I am sure, do all in his power to fill Osbornes place in any way; and his marriage need not be so long delayed.
Dont speak of that in the same breath as Osbornes life, mamma, said Cynthia hastily.
Why, my dear, it is a very natural thought. For poor Rogers sake, you know, one wishes it not to be so very, very long an engagement; and I was only answering Mollys question, after all. One cant help following out ones thoughts. People must die, you knowyoung, as well as old.
If I ever suspected Roger of following out his thoughts in a similar way, said Cynthia, Id never speak to him again.
As if he would! said Molly, warm in her turn. You know he never would; and you shouldnt suppose it of him, Cynthiano, not even for a moment!
I cant see the great harm of it all, for my part, said Mrs. Gibson plaintively. A young man strikes us all as looking very illand Im sure Im sorry for it; but illness very often leads to death. Surely you agree with me there, and whats the harm of saying so? Then Molly asks what will happen, if he dies; and I try to answer her question. I dont like talking or thinking of death any more than any one else; but I should
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