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other. At present, however, it made the sunlight of little Louisa's life, and as she looked no further than to-morrow's dawn she saw no clouds in her horizon.
The cousins arrived at Mrs. Thornton's about half-past twelve o'clock, and Maria gladly accepted the invitation to join them in their walk. The younger children went with Miss Willis, and Flora remained at home, as the unfinished lesson was considered by Miss Willis only another proof of the idleness she so lamented in Flora.
The next morning Flora came down to breakfast looking more than usually ill, and her grandmother did not fail to observe it. Quick to take alarm when any symptom of illness appeared among the children, she was very slow in profiting by the advice which, on such occasions, she called in. She had a high opinion of her own judgment, and could very rarely be made to surrender it. Now, however, Flora's looks alarmed her, and, after breakfast, she despatched a note to Dr. Trevor, her medical attendant, requesting him to call in the course of the day.
Mrs. Thornton was not aware of the prevailing motive which actuated her in carrying out the education of her son's children. She had, indeed, a certain regard for their best interests, and she thought it was her first motive, but it was not so. During her younger days, she had mingled a good deal in gay society, and had imbibed the spirit of its laws, to an extent of which she was perhaps herself unconscious. To shine in this arena, personal charms, grace of manner, accomplishments, external advantages of all kinds, she knew were indispensable. Her son was holding a high official appointment in India, and his children would, in after life, mingle with the noblo and the wealthy of the land, and the thought came again and again into her mind, "Shall I not prepare them for their high position?" And so it came to pass that the energies of these young minds were being frittered away upon subjects all unworthy of their pains, and health was sacrificed, and the free and joyous period of childhood too often shadowed with a cloud which was not of heaven's sending, but man's raising.
Dr. Trevor called in the afternoon. Ho was a kind and judicious man, very fond of his profession, and taking that enlarged and liberal view of its duties which did not allow him to rest satisfied with simply prescribing for the bodily ailments of his patients. Ho knew full well the intimate connection which subsists between the moral and physical powers of man, and it was his aim, so far as he was permitted to do so, to explain and enforce this truth; so that, in many cases, even among tho poor and unlettered of the community, ho succeeded in winning a cordial and hearty cooperation in the measures he suggested, and was looked upon as a friend and adviser for many miles round. With Mrs. Thornton, however, he knew he had a difficult person to deal, and, feeling strongly the dangerous tendency of the system she was pursuing, he had often dropped a word of advice and caution, but hitherto without much success.
"Why, my little girl, what a pale face!" said the doctor, as Flora entered the room. "Who would think you had been Uving among the hills, in the finest air in England? You are a discredit to us all, and something must be done to bring the roses to your cheeks. Why, what a cold little hand I And now I will venture upon a bold guess. The lessons have not gone on well lately; hey, is it so?"
A faint flush came into Flora's countenance, as she looked at her grandmama.
"Nay, nay," said the kind doctor, "I am not going to bring you into trouble, my dear. I am going to prescribe what you will like very much, I know—a long holiday. We will have nothing to do with lessons, and very little with physic, but a great deal with the fresh morning air and the wild honeysuckles."
The child looked earnestly at the doctor, and then at her grandmama, as if debating within herself how far this pleasant remedy would be carried out. She answered intelligently the several questions and inquiries which Dr. Trevor put, and then, patting her kindly on the shoulder, he said, "Now you may go, my dear, and ask Percy what he thinks of my prescription."
As soon as she had left the room he turned to Mrs. Thornton, and said, "Now, my good lady, you must allow me to speak plainly with you. You will never rear that child, unless you pursue a totally different course with her. You must leave her alone, and let her follow where Nature leads, or I tell you truly you will repent it. That child is made of a texture so fragile in body and mind that she will no more bear handling than a butterfly's wing. The discipline and method which are useful, nay, needful, for other children, are altogether harmful for her, and, with such a temperament, all we may do is to stand by and watch, and guard her from all rough collision as we may."
"Well, doctor, I will follow any plan you