Words are sometimes very poor exponents of such an event : but it happens now and then , on the other hand , that a plain intimation expresses too much , and suggests emotion and suffering which , in reality , have but little , if any , existence .
Mrs Marjoribanks 1 ,
poor lady 61 , had been
an invalid 62 for many years ;
she 1 had grown a little peevish in
her 1 loneliness , not feeling
herself 1 of much account in
this world 3 .
; but it is unfortunately much more usual to take the plan adopted by
some rare natures that are content to acquiesce in the general neglect , and forget
Mrs Marjoribanks , who devoted all
powers , during the last ten years of
life , to the solacement and care of
that poor self which
other people 5
The consequence was , that when
she 1 disappeared from
her 1 sofa -- except for the mere physical fact that
she 1 was no longer there --
no one 6 , except
, could have found out much difference .
maid , whose occupation was gone 7
, it is true , who had , somewhere , hidden deep in some secret corner of
his 8 physical organisation , the remains of a heart , experienced a certain sentiment of sadness when
he 8 re-entered
the house from which
had gone away for ever 9
Dr Marjoribanks 8 was too busy
a man 63 to waste
his 8 feelings on a mere sentiment .
, however , was only fifteen , and had floods of tears at
her 0 command , as was natural at that age .
All the way
she 0 revolved the situation in
her 0 mind , which was considerably enlightened by novels and popular philosophy -- for
the lady at the head of
Miss Marjoribanks 0
a devoted admirer of _ Friends in Council _ 64 , and was fond of bestowing that work as a prize , with pencil-marks on the margin -- so that
Lucilla 0 's mind had been cultivated , and was brimful of the best of sentiments .
She 0 made up
her 0 mind on
her 0 journey to a great many virtuous resolutions ; for , in such a case as hers , it was evidently the duty of
an only child 13 to devote
herself 13 to 's comfort , and become the sunshine of
his 14 life , as
have been known to become in literature .
so many young persons of
Miss Marjoribanks 0 had a lively mind , and was capable of grasping all the circumstances of the situation at a glance .
Thus , between the outbreaks of
her 0 tears for , it became apparent to
her 0 that
she 0 must sacrifice
her 0 own feelings , and make
a cheerful home 16 for
papa 8 , and that a great many changes would be necessary in the household -- changes which went so far as even to extend to the furniture .
Miss Marjoribanks 0 sketched to
herself 0 , as
she 0 lay back in the corner of
the railway carriage 17 , with
her 0 veil down , how
she 0 would wind
herself 0 up to the duty of presiding at 's dinner-parties , and charming
everybody 18 by
her 0 good humour , and brightness , and devotion to
his 8 comfort ; and how , when it was all over ,
she 0 would withdraw and cry
her 0 eyes out in , and be found in the morning languid and worn-out , but always heroical , ready to go
downstairs 20 and assist at
dear papa 8 's breakfast , and keep up
her 0 smiles for
him 8 till
he 8 had gone out to .
Altogether the picture was a very pretty one ; and , considering that
a great many young ladies in deep mourning 22 put force upon
their 22 feelings in novels , and maintain a smile for the benefit of
, the idea was not at all extravagant , considering that
the unobservant male creatures of whom
have the charge 23
Miss Marjoribanks 0 was but fifteen .
She 0 was not , however , exactly the kind of figure for this _ mise en scène _ .
When talked of
her 0 to -- for
Lucilla 0 was already
an important personage 65 at
Mount Pleasant 27 -- the most common description
they 24 gave
her 0 was , that
she 0 was
" a large girl " 66 ; and there was great truth in the adjective .
She 0 was not to be described as
a tall girl 26 -- which conveys an altogether different idea -- but
she 0 was large in all particulars , full and well-developed , with somewhat large features , not at all pretty as yet , though it was known in
Mount Pleasant 27 that
somebody 28 had said that such a face might ripen into beauty , and become " grandiose , " for anything
anybody 29 could tell .
Miss Marjoribanks 0 was not vain ; but the word had taken possession of
her 0 imagination , as was natural , and solaced
her 0 much when
she 0 made the painful discovery that
her 0 gloves were half a number larger , and
her 0 shoes a hair-breadth broader , than those of ; but the hands and feet were both perfectly well shaped ; and being at the same time well clothed and plump , were much more presentable and pleasant to look upon than the lean rudimentary
schoolgirl 32 hands with which they were surrounded .
To add to these excellences ,
Lucilla 0 had a mass of hair which , if it could but have been cleared a little in its tint , would have been golden , though at present it was nothing more than tawny , and curly to exasperation .
She 0 wore it in large thick curls , which did not , however , float or wave , or do any of the graceful things which curls ought to do ; for it had this aggravating quality , that it would not grow long , but would grow ridiculously , unmanageably thick , to the admiration of , but to
her 0 own despair , for there was no knowing what to do with those short but ponderous locks .
These were the external characteristics of
the girl who was going
to be a comfort to
, and meant to sacrifice
In the course of
her 0 rapid journey
she 0 had already settled upon everything that had to be done ; or rather , to speak truly , had rehearsed everything , according to the habit already acquired by a quick mind , a good deal occupied with itself .
she 0 meant to fall into 's arms -- forgetting , with that singular facility for overlooking the peculiarities of others which belongs to such a character , that
Dr Marjoribanks 8 was very little given to embracing , and that a hasty kiss on
her 0 forehead was the warmest caress
he 8 had ever given -- and then to rush up to
the chamber of death 35 and weep over
dear mamma 1 .
" And to think
I 0 was not
there 36 to soothe
her 1 last moments ! "
Lucilla 0 said to
herself 0 , with a sob , and with feelings sufficiently real in their way .
After this ,
the devoted daughter 0 made up
her 0 mind to come
downstairs 20 again , pale as death , but self-controlled , and devote
herself 0 to
papa 8 .
Perhaps , if great emotion should make
him 8 tearless , as such cases had been known ,
Miss Marjoribanks 0 would steal into
his 8 arms unawares , and so surprise
him 8 into weeping .
All this went briskly through
her 0 mind , undeterred by the reflection that tears were as much out of
the Doctor 8 's way as embraces ; and in this mood
she 0 sped swiftly along in the inspiration of
her 0 first sorrow , as
she 0 imagined , but in reality to suffer
her 0 first disappointment , which was of a less soothing character than that mild and manageable grief .
Miss Marjoribanks 0 reached
home 10 had been dead for twenty-four hours ; and was not at the door to receive
her 0 as
she 0 had expected , but by the bedside of
a patient in extremity 37 , who could not consent to go out of
the world 3 without
the Doctor 8 .
This was a sad reversal of
her 0 intentions , but
Lucilla 0 was not
the woman to be disconcerted 38 .
She 0 carried out the second part of
her 0 programme without either interference or sympathy , except from
, who had some hopes from the moment of
Mrs Marjoribanks 1
's maid 7
her 0 arrival .
I 7 ca n't abear to think as
I 7 'm to be parted from
you 39 all ,
miss 0 , " sobbed
the faithful attendant 7 .
I 7 've lost
the best missus as ever was 1 , and
I 7 should n't mind going after
her 1 .
any one 40 gets
a good friend 41 in
this world 3 ,
they 41 're the first to be took away , " said
the weeping handmaiden , who naturally saw
own loss in the most vivid light 7
" Ah ,
Ellis 7 , " cried
Miss Marjoribanks 0 , reposing
her 0 sorrow in the arms of
this anxious attendant 7 , "
we 42 must try to be a comfort to
poor papa 8 ! "
With this end
Lucilla 0 made
herself 0 very troublesome to
the sober-minded Doctor 8 during those few dim days before the faint and daily lessening shadow of poor
Mrs Marjoribanks 1 was removed altogether from
the house 9 .
When that sad ceremony had taken place , and
the Doctor 8 returned , serious enough , Heaven knows , to
, the crisis arrived which
the great house , where
the faded helpless woman , who had notwithstanding been
in other days 1
, lay no longer on the familiar sofa 9
Miss Marjoribanks 0 had rehearsed so often , but after quite a different fashion .
The widower 8 was tearless , indeed , but not from excess of emotion .
On the contrary , a painful heaviness possessed
him 8 when
he 8 became aware how little real sorrow was in
his 8 mind , and how small an actual loss was this loss of , which bulked before
the world 3 as an event of just as much magnitude as the loss , for example , which poor
Mr Lake 45 ,
the drawing-master 67 , was at the same moment suffering .
It was even sad , in another point of view , to think of
a human creature 46 passing out of
the world 3 , and leaving so little trace that
she 46 had ever been
there 3 .
the pretty creature whom
Dr Marjoribanks 8
had married 1
she 1 had vanished into thin air years and years ago .
These thoughts were heavy enough -- perhaps even more overwhelming than that grief which develops love to its highest point of intensity .
But such were not precisely the kind of reflections which could be solaced by paternal _ attendrissement _ over
a weeping and devoted daughter 47 .
It was May , and the weather was warm for the season ; but
Lucilla 0 had caused the fire to be lighted in
, with the idea that it would be " a comfort " to
the large gloomy library where
Dr Marjoribanks 8
always sat in the evenings 48
him 8 ; and , for the same reason ,
she 0 had ordered tea to be served
there 48 , instead of the dinner , for which , as
she 0 imagined , could have little appetite .
the Doctor 8 went in to
, tired and heated and sad -- for even on the day of 's funeral
favourite seclusion 48
the favourite doctor of
Carlingford 49 8
patients 50 to think of -- the very heaviness of
his 8 thoughts gave warmth to
his 8 indignation .
He 8 had longed for the quiet and the coolness and the solitude of , apart from
everybody 51 ; and when
he 8 found
it 48 radiant with firelight , tea set on the table , and
Lucilla 0 crying by the fire , in
her 0 new crape , the effect upon a temper by no means perfect may be imagined .
The unfortunate man 8 threw both the windows wide open and rang the bell violently , and gave instant orders for the removal of the unnecessary fire and the tea-service .
me 8 know when dinner is ready , "
he 8 said , in a voice like thunder ; " and if
Miss Marjoribanks 0 wants a fire , let it be lighted in
the drawing-room 52 . "
Lucilla 0 was so much taken by surprise by this sudden overthrow of
her 0 programme , that
she 0 submitted , as
a girl of much less spirit 53 might have done , and suffered
herself 0 and
her 0 fire and
her 0 tea-things to be dismissed
upstairs 54 , where
she 0 wept still more at sight of
dear mamma 1 's sofa , and where
Ellis 7 came to mingle
her 7 tears with those of , and to beg dear
Miss Lucilla 0 , for the sake of
her 0 precious ' elth and , to be persuaded to take some tea .
On the whole ,
master 8 stood lessened in the eyes of
all the household 55 by
his 8 ability to eat
his 8 dinner , and
his 8 resentment at having
his 8 habitudes disturbed .
Them men 56 would eat and drink if
we 57 was all in
our 57 graves , " said
the indignant cook , who indeed had a real grievance 7 ; and the outraged sentiment of
the kitchen 58 was avenged by a bad and hasty dinner , which
the Doctor 8 , though generally " very particular , " swallowed without remark .
About an hour afterwards
he 8 went
upstairs 54 to
the drawing-room 52 , where
Miss Marjoribanks 0 was waiting for
him 8 , much less at ease than
she 0 had expected to be .
he 8 gave a little sigh at the sight of 's sofa ,
he 8 did not hesitate to sit down upon it , and even to draw it a little out of its position , which , as
Lucilla 0 described afterwards , was like a knife going into
her 0 heart .
Though , indeed ,
she 0 had
herself 0 decided already , in the intervals of
her 0 tears , that
the drawing-room 52 furniture had got very faded and shabby , and that it would be very expedient to have it renewed for the new reign of youth and energy which was about to commence .
the Doctor 8 , though
Miss Marjoribanks 0 thought
him 8 insensible ,
his 8 heart was heavy enough .
had gone out of
the world 3 without leaving the least mark of
her 1 existence , except in
that large girl , whose spirits and forces were unbounded , but whose discretion at the present moment did not seem much greater than
Instead of thinking of
her 0 as a comfort ,
the Doctor 8 felt
himself 8 called upon to face a new and unexpected embarrassment .
It would have been a satisfaction to
him 8 just then to have been left to
himself 8 , and permitted to work on quietly at
his 8 profession , and to write
his 8 papers for the _ Lancet _ , and to see now and then when
he 8 chose ; for
Dr Marjoribanks 8 was not
a man who had any great need of sympathy by nature , or who was at all addicted to demonstrations of feeling 60 ; consequently ,
he 8 drew 's sofa a little farther from the fire , and took
his 8 seat on it soberly , quite unaware that , by so doing ,
he 8 was putting a knife into 's heart .