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against the entrance of other feelings, and deems wandering thoughts its traitors. This empire, and even more than this, did it hold over Emily; yet for a moment its authority was lost, while old feelings and former affections came thronging in its place, as she caught the last red sunshine on the church windows, and saw the old avenue of lime trees, and the shady road, which wound through meadows where the hay was doubly sweet in the cool evening air. Familiar faces looked eagerly at the carriage as it drove rapidly by—it was soon in the avenue. Emily saw her uncle hurry down the steps—in another moment she was in his arms — a sense of security and sympathy came over her — tears, long restrained, burst forth; but the luxury of the moment's passionate weeping was interrupted by her aunt's eager and talkative welcome.
"We are so glad to see you — thought you were never coming home — tea is ready — thought you would like tea after your journey— but have something of supper, too—you must want something more substantial than tea."
It is curious how inseparable eating and kindness are with some people. Mr. Arundel stopped a moment in the hall to look after the carriage, and Emily followed her aunt into the room.
"Don't you think him altered, my dear?"— Jmily looked quite unconscious of her meaning — " your poor, dear uncle — sadly broken; Sutrhe would not let you be sent for. I have had all the nursing; but he was resolved you should enjoy yourself. You will find us very dull after London."
Emily sprang out of the room — her uncle stood in the hall — the light of the open door fell full upon him. Pale, emaciated, speaking with evident difficulty, he looked, to. use that common but expressive phrase, the picture of \ death. Her very first thought was, "I must not let him see how shocked I am."
With one strong effort, she rejoined her aunt —even Mrs. Arundel was startled by her paleness. "Come, come, child," said she, forcing her to drink a glass of wine, "I can't have you to nurse too. I dare say your uncle will soon be better: he has missed you so—I couldn't go walking and reading about with him as you used to do. He will get into good humour now. I think he fancies a great deal of his illness; but you see he has been moped. Not
'withstanding all I could say, he would not hear hurrying you home."
He now came into the room, and drew his seat by Emily. He talked so rejoicingly of her return, so gaily of her London campaign; but the cheerfulness was an effort, and the silence into which they gradually sank was a relief to the party, except Mrs. Arundel.
Affection exaggerates its own offences; and, in her perpetual self-reproaches for her absence, Emily never remembered that she could not really consider herself to blame for what she could neither foresee nor prevent; all that she dwelt upon was, that she had been, as her aunt expressed it, away and enjoying herself, while her dear, her kind uncle, had been ill and solitary. How vividly did she picture to herself his lonely walks, the unbroken solitude of his study!— no one to read aloud his favourite passages, or replace his scattered books! She gave a furtive glance at the chess-table—the little ivory men seemed not to have been moved since their last game. She was in a fair way of persuading herself, that all his altered looks were to be ascribed to her absence.
What eager resolutions did she make of leaving him no more! How attentive she would be — how watch his every glance! She would prevail on him to walk — he must get better with all her care. How youth makes its wishes hopes, and its hopes certainties! She only looked on his pale face to read recovery. She now broke silence as suddenly as she had sank into it. Convinced that he required amusement, she exerted herself to the utmost to afford it; but her spirits fell to see how completely the exertion of listening seemed to exhaust him; and when he urged her to go to bed early, on the plea that she must be tired with her journey, she perceived too plainly it was to prevent her observation of his extreme weakness.
Emily went to bed, and cried herself to sleep; but she woke early. It is like waking in a new world, the waking in the morning—any morning, after an entire change of place: it seems almost impossible we can be quite awake. Slowly she looked at the large old-fashioned bed, with its flowered curtains — she recognised the huge mantel-piece, where the four seasons were carved in wood — she knew her own dressing-table, with its mirror set in silver; a weight hung on her mind—she felt a reluctance to waken thoroughly. Suddenly she recalled last night—her uncle's evident illness flashed upon her memory — and she sprang as hastily from her pillow as if his recovery depended on her rising.
It was scarcely six o'clock, but she dressed; and, stepping softly by her uncle's door—for all in his room was profoundly quiet—she bent her steps towards the garden; and, with that natural feeling of interest towards what is our own, she turned towards the part which, marked by a hedge of the wild rose, had always been called hers. It was at some little distance: in younger days, it had been given as a reward and inducement for exercise — for Emily in winter preferred her own little niche by the fireside, or in summer a seat by her favourite window, where she had only to put out her hand and bring back a rose, to all the running and walking that ever improved constitution or complexion; and though Mr. Arundel was never able to imbue her with a very decided taste for weeding, watering, &c, still, the garden, connected as it was with his kindness and approval, became a sufficient motive for exertion; and our fair gardener bestowed a degree of pains and industry on the culture of her flowers, for the sake of shewing her uncle