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death, commending her orphan child to His care, and praying that this only remaining comfort of her life might be spared to her, and for the moment she was comforted; but when she again approached the bedside, the sight of the thin, wan features again overcame her, and she clung to the doctor's arm imploringly, pointing to the dear boy's face, and asking him once more, “What do you think? Tell me; I can bear it. Tell me; will he live?”
Mr. Calvert looked down at her compassionately, and could only repeat the hopes he had already expressed. He led her to the door, and bade her go and rest. He trusted there would be a change and an improvement soon. The best thing she could do, both for his sake and for her own, in the meantime, was to lie down and sleep.
Mrs. Howard withdrew to her own room; she had not occupied it much since her arrival, but she thought she would try to rest for an hour or so, for her eyes were heavy. A message had been sent to a neighbouring town, requesting the attendance of a physician of some reputation there, to consult with Mr. Calvert. It was not expected that he would arrive till late in the day; but almost before Mrs. Howard had closed her eyes the sound of wheels upon the gravel fell on her anxious ears, and roused her from her brief repose. She saw from her window that a fly had arrived, and hastening downstairs met in the entrance-hall an elderly man whom she at once identified as the expected physician.
"You are come to see my son," she exclaimed, offering him her hand; "thank you for being so prompt."
“How shall I find him, madam ?” the old man asked, with a look of great anxiety. "Is he better?
“ Is he better? Is he in any danger ? ” Mrs. Howard could not answer his question; she waited, on the contrary, to hear what he would say when he had seen him.
“So you are his mother ? ” he continued, holding her hand in his, and scrutinising her features with singular interest.
“Come and see him," she said, drawing him towards the stairs.
“Yes,” he replied, after a few moments; "yes, I will go and see him : that is what I am come for. He will be surprised, and pleased, I hope.”
“ He is too ill to take much notice of you,” said the mother, turning away and beginning to ascend the stairs.
The stranger followed her, but at the first landing he was obliged to halt for breath. Mrs. Howard had been surprised at first to see so old a person; and his appearance was not at all that of a professional man. He was evidently much agitated, which again was strange in one who must be accustomed to visit the sick and to advise in the gravest emergencies.
“I am not much used to this,” he said, recovering himself, and motioning to her to lead the way again upstairs. It was a long ascent, certainly; for the room to which Tom Howard had been removed was near the top of the house ; but Mrs. Howard felt her confidence in the physician a little shaken as she observed his emotion and distress.
The sick room was reached at last, and Mrs. Howard entered, the stranger following her. Mr. Calvert looked up inquiringly, but said nothing, and they advanced together to the bedside. The poor child was lying perfectly still and quiet, his eyes partly open, his face nearly colourless, with a worn and sunken appearance; his forehead was bare, for the hair had been cut away, and appeared to be seamed with wrinkles; the room was partly darkened, but those who approached the bed could not fail to be struck with the change that had taken place during the short time that the poor boy had been lying there, and the old man, who now bent over his pillow, was strangely affected by it.
“Good heaven!” he exclaimed, in a low voice, with something like a sob, and put forth his trembling hand to touch the little patient. But Mr. Calvert interfered, and begged him in a whisper to command himself and to be silent. The old man then stood still for a time, gazing at the little face till he could bear it no longer, and turning hastily away, with both hands raised to his eyes, shuffled out of the room.
“What does it mean?” Mrs. Howard asked. “Does he think so badly of him? Oh, doctor, tell me there is hope!”
Mr. Calvert looked at her with surprise.
"I cannot tell; you brought him into the room. I thought he was a friend or relative of
“No,” she replied, “I do not know him. I have never seen him before. I thought, of course, it was the physician." “No,” Mr. Calvert replied. "He is no physican, I am sure.
“ At all events he is not Dr. Weatherby.”
THE NAME AND MOTTO.
My thoughts still cling to the mouldering past,
And the days are dark and dreary.-Longfellow.
RS. HOWARD, as soon as she could recover herself, hastened
after the stranger, wondering very much who he could be, and, overtaking him upon the stairs, led him into a room near at hand.
My dear,” said the old man, turning suddenly, and grasping her by the wrist, “what does the doctor think of him?'
Mrs. Howard could only shake her head impatiently. “I wish he would come,” she said at last. "I thought you were the doctor." “Oh, no, no; I am only Mr. Strafford. You must have heard
I my name-Strafford of Langdale."
“ Mr. Strafford! I have heard my boy speak of you come all the way from your home to see him ?”
Yes, yes; to see him die, perhaps,” he exclaimed bitterly. Oh, don't say that !” “ It would serve me right.” “But—but I am his mother.” “Of course, of course ; and I am only—a friend."
kind friend, I am sure. I have heard him speak of you. He told me how kind you were."
“Did he? Bless him for that! But about the doctor; you were expecting one ?”
“Yes; Dr. Weatherby ; a very clever man.”
“If I had known he was so ill I would have brought the best man in London to see him. I will send a telegram now.”
“Dr. Weatherby will be here directly. It would be a great expense to send for a physician from London.”
“I don't mind that,” said the old man, excitedly. "I should not care what it cost!”
Certainly he was very much changed—this old, miserly squire of Langdale.
“I had a son myself once, Mrs. -" “Howard.”
“Howard ? Oh, yes: I suppose that is the name. I had a son once myself, and lost him. I can feel for you.”
“ Your only son ?” Mrs. Howard asked. “My only son. He went away from home twenty years ago
or more, and never was heard of again. He is dead, of course. This boy is so like him—so like! The first moment that I looked at him I saw the resemblance; when he spoke it was like my own son grown young again and speaking to me; when he looked up at me angry and indignant (and he had good cause, Mrs. Howard, he had good cause), then it was like my own son Walter in one of his impatient moods; but the fire in his eye, and the twinkle of it when he laughed, that was most like of all. I have had it before me ever since I saw him first at Langdale. But to-day I have seen it and felt it more than ever. I can scarcely believe that he is not my child; and yet you say his name is Howard ?”
“Yes, certainly-Tom Howard."
No, never.” “Stay," said the old man, resting his brow upon his hand in thought. "It was very likely that when my son went away he changed his name; there was reason to think he might have done so, for we tried to trace him, and could not. He went to sea, poor boy. Yes, he changed his name, no doubt. You would not be likely to know him by his father's
Are you sure that Howard was your husband's own name, his real name?”
Of course it was,” Mrs. Howard answered; but as soon as she had spoken, a curious incident recurred to her mind. A stranger had once accosted her husband in her presence, claiming him as an old acquaintance, and giving him a strange name. She had thought so little of it at the moment that she did not remember what the name was; she was not sure that she had heard it distinctly, her husband having checked the speaker in an instant, and dismissed him after a few words in private. She had set it down as a mistake, of course, but had noticed that her husband seemed to be annoyed, and to think more of such an