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badly-cooked dinner to which my husband was introduced an hour afterwards, I will not trust myself to write. I was not, of course, in a very agreeable humor; and the record of what I said and did, and of how I looked, would be in no way flattering to my own good opinion of myself, nor prove particularly edifying to the reader.
I shall never forget Anna's new variety of “whale-barry,” nor the “ lots o' things” she deposited on my bed. She lived with me just seven days, and then made way for another a little more tolerable than herself.
A CURE FOR LOW SPIRITS.
From some cause, real or imaginary, I felt low spirited. There was a cloud upon my feelings, and I could not smile as usual, nor speak in a tone of cheerfulness. As a natural result, the light of my countenance being gone, all things around me were in a shadow.
My husband was sober, and had but little to say; the children would look strangely at me when I answered their questions or spoke to them for any purpose, and the domestics moved about in a quiet manner, and when they addressed me, did so in a tone more subdued than usual.
This reaction upon my state, only made darker the clouds that veiled my spirits. I was conscious of this, and was conscious that the original cause of depression was entirely inadequate, in itself, to produce the result which had followed. Under this feeling, I made an effort to rally myself, but in vain—and sank lower from the struggle to rise above the gloom that overshadowed me.
When my husband came home at dinner time, I tried to meet him with a smile; but I felt that the light upon my countenance was feeble, and of brief duration. He looked at me earnestly, and in his kind and gentle way, enquired if I
felt no better, affecting to believe that my ailment was one of the body instead of the mind. But I scarcely answered him, and I could see that he felt hurt. How much more wretched did I become at this ? Could I have then retired to my chamber, and alone given my heart full vent in a passion of tears, I might have obtained relief to my feelings. But I could not do this.
While I sat at the table forcing a little food into my mouth for appearance sake, my husband said :
“ You remember the fine lad who has been with me for some time ?”
I nodded my head, but the question did not awaken in my mind the least interest.
“He has not made his appearance for several days; and I learned this morning, on sending to the house of his mother, that he is very ill."
“Ah !" was my indifferent response. Had I spoken what was in my mind, I would have said, “ I'm sorry, but I can't help it.” I did not at the moment feel the smallest interest in the lad.
“ Yes," added my husband, " and the person who called to let me know about it, expressed his fears that Edward would not get up again.'
“What ails him?" I enquired.
“I did not clearly understand. But he has a fever of some kind. You remember his mother
very well ?”
You know she worked for me. Edward is her only child, I believe.”
Yes; and his loss to her will be almost everything."
“Is he dangerous ?” I enquired, a feeling of interest beginning to stir in my heart.
“He is not expected to live."
“ Poor woman! How distressed she must be! I wonder what her circumstances are just at this time. She seemed very poor when she worked for me."
“ And she is very poor still, I doubt not. She has herself been sick, and during the time it is more than probable that Edward's wages were all her income. I am afraid she has not now the means of procuring for her sick boy things necessary for his comfort.
Could you not go around there this afternoon, and see how they
I shook my head instantly at this proposition, for sympathy for others was not strong enough to expel my selfish despondency of mind.
“ Then I must step around,” replied my husband,“ before I go back to business, although I have a great deal to do to-day. It would not be right to neglect this lad and his mother under present circumstances."
I felt rebuked at these words, and, with an effort, said :
" I will go.
“It will be much better for you to see them than for me," returned my husband, “ for you can understand their wants better, and minister to them more effectually. If they need any comforts, I would like to have you see them supplied.”
It still cost me an effort to get ready, but as I had promised to do as my husband wished, the effort had to be made. By the time I was prepared to go out, I felt something better. The exertion I was required to make, tended to disperse, slightly, the clouds that hung over me, and as they began gradually to remove, my thoughts turned, with an awakened interest, towards the object of my husband's solicitude.
All was silent within the humble abode to which my errand led me. I knocked lightly, and in a few moments the mother of Edward opened the door. She looked pale and anxious.
“How is your son, Mrs. Ellis ?” I enquired, as I stepped in.
“ He is very low, ma'am,” she replied. “ Not dangerous, I hope ?"
I “ The fever has left him, but he is as weak as an infant. All his strength is gone.”
“But proper nourishment will restore him, now that the disease is broken."
“So the doctor says. But I'm afraid it's too late. He seems to be sinking every hour.
Will you walk up and see him ?”
I followed Mrs. Ellis up stairs, and into a chamber, where the sick boy lay. I was not
. surprised at the fear she expressed, when I saw Edward's pale, sunken face, and hollow, almost expressionless eyes. He scarcely noticed my entrance.
“Poor boy!" sighed his mother. “ He has had a very sick spell." a
My liveliest interest was at once awakened.
"He has been sick, indeed!" I replied, as I laid my hand upon his white forehead.
I found his skin cold and damp. The fever