346 UNCLE TOM'S CABIN; OR
Two days after this, Alfred St. Clare and Augustin parted ; and Eva, who had been stimulated, by the society of her young cousin, to exertions beyond her strength, began to fail rapidly. St. Clare was at last willing to call in medical advice, — a thing from which he had always shrunk, because it was the admission of an unwelcome truth.
But, for a day or two, Eva was so unwell as to be confined to the house; and the doctor was called.
Marie St. Clare had taken no notice of the child's gradually decaying health and strength, because she was completely absorbed in studying out two or three new forms of disease to which she believed she herself was a victim. It was the first principle of Marie's belief that nobody ever was or could be so great a sufferer as herself; and, therefore, she always repelled quite indignantly any suggestion that any one around her could be sick. She was always sure, in such a case, that it was nothing but laziness, or want of energy ; and that, if they had had the suffering she had, they would soon know the difference.
Miss Ophelia had several times tried to awaken her maternal fears about Eva ; but to no avail.
" I don't see as anything ails the child," she would say; " she runs about, and plays."
" But she has a cough."
" Cough ! you don't need to tell me about a cough. I 've always been subject to a cough, all my days. When I was of Eva's age, they thought I was in a consumption