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dress, took off her ornaments, and unbraided and smoothed the long bright hair as quickly as could be.
And so for the time, a merciful respite, Henrietta forgot her pangs as a mother in her joys as a wife, and Mr. Cradock came back to find her sleeping in nearly as silent peace as their dead babe upstairs.
THE CHILDLESS HOME.
" And but one hour of labour light
With hire for all the day :
Yes, Christian, yes !
It is much more to live
And then to win this praise
Servant of God, well done!'" MR. CRADOCK's answers to Barbara's inquiries the next morning were on the whole favourable ; although his wife had after the first had but a restless night, she was now sleeping quietly, and he had left special orders with her maid not to suffer her mistress to excite herself nor to leave her sitting-room that day.
It was not till nearly three that Henrietta sent for Barbara. She was then sitting in her dressing-gown by the fire, not languid por listless, but bright and comparatively well.
"You will come and spend the afternoon with me.” "Oh yes."
“I should have come down to you, but Clarke seemed to think Mr. Cradock would really rather I should stay up—he does not know how strong I am. Still if he wishes it I will stay till dinner time, then I must be down."
I think he would rather find here."
“No, not really, you don't know him. George canpot bear me not to be about the house," and Hetty smiled happily. “I shocked and amazed Mrs. Giles by the celerity with which I was downstairs afterafter baby was born.”
But Mr. Cradock would not wish you to harm yourself.”
“ How can I? I am so well. Yes, I mean to be down, and in good time too,” she added with a smile and a sigh, a blush and a tear; " oh what a trouble his wife has been to him !"
“Still as he expressly said so," Barbara ventured to persist.
But only to save me, because I was so weak and foolish last night. Mad, too, I think-with you most of all, Barbara."
“No, no, Hetty."
“Thank you, I had rather not speak about it,” but something the childless mother whispered of forgetting those things which were behind, and pressing on toward the mark for the prize of her high calling.
“ You have heard from home ?” she asked presently. “Yes, a long letter from Elizabeth. Shall I read it?" Do, but I should like
work.” “Don't get up, Hetty. Tell me where to find it.”
I think Clarke must look for it. Let me ring." “ Can't you tell me where ?"
“ Well, I don't know wbat it is," answered Henrietta, with a flicker of her old ready smile; “no, we must leave it to Clarke."
Clarke herself when she came seemed rather surprised at the order. “Your work ?-perhaps you mean your netting, ma'am ?”
“I daresay," answered her mistress listlessly, "I do not remember what I was last about."
Clarke went to the drawer and took out first a crochet needle and some tangled cotton, next the first few rows of a child's sock, then the beginning of a purse. Mr. Wynne had been wanting one during Henrietta's summer visit to Ford House, she had begun it at once, and there had put in the last stitch : since her return she had “really bad no time.”
Clarke hastily hid the sock from sight, but Barbara saw it. Did Henrietta ? She could not tell. She took the netting and sat working languidly whilst Barbara read.
“ Elizabeth writes better letters than she used to do,” said Henrietta, rousing herself as Barbara finished.
“She is rather less shy."
“Still her letters are so different from yours, or Paul's, or mamma's. Mamma really makes me feel amongst you all again. Just a few words of hers bring you all before me."
“Mamma is wonderfully clever," said Barbara, to whom as she grew older this fact more and more developed itself, “ what she says or does she says or does better than any one else could have done it."
Henrietta sighed, resumed her netting in silence, then presently roused herself and discussed Elizabeth's letter fully from beginning to end.
“So Frank likes bis rector better than ever, that is some good news. I wonder when I shall see him again."
“In the summer when you come and spend mamma's birthday with us,” said Barbara, putting her bands on Hetty's fondly, " you know you are to be five weeks with us this summer to make up for your only spending three with us last year.”
Hetty tried to smile, but a choking sob came in its place, Sbe gulped it down, however, with an effort which it would have been far healthier if she had not felt she must make, and went on rapidly, “ And so Hargrave is trying in good earnest for the Exhibition ; well I'm sure he will gain it, be is so clever. But Elizabeth herself, when is she coming out of the schoolroom ?
“At Easter, I believe, but she is so fond of Miss Barnard that I doubt if she will really leave it then; you see there is no fifth daughter to take her place, and poor Miss Barnard will feel very dull without her.”
“Poor little thing! she did not get on here. She was so afraid of George that he could hardly get an answer from her, and yet, dear thing, sent him once or twice into agonies! and then was so shocked at something he said about Church matters, that she began in her shy, earnest manner arguing about baptism and I don't know what before Kent and all at dinner,--she so in earnest, and George so excessively polite, though on thorns at her want of savoir faire ail the time, and I to stop it agreeing with both, and making Elizabeth think me a heathen by pressing one dish after another upon her attention to try to put an end to it! oh dear!" “She has done a great deal for herself.” Yes, but is too too good, I suppose, for ordinary
She thought me worldly,-George something worse, and told me so, thinking I ought to convert him. Well, she was right regarding myself.”
And, as was more wholesome than such fitful talk, Henrietta lapsed once more into silence.
She was in the drawing-room at six, by which time Mr. Cradock was usually in. To-day he was so late that he burried up stairs to dress without showing himself at all.
He came in, was 'surprised' to find his wife down,more surprised than pleased it seemed to Barbara, asked kindly after her health, and then willingly followed her lead into indifferent subjects.
They went down to dinner, and Henrietta sat at the head of that handsomely laid table, with its Saxony damask cloth, and glittering glass, and silver dishes,—and behaved and talked as though no one, least of all her own child, was lying dead within the house.