348 UNCLE TOMS CABIN; OR
" Well, of course, if you can look on the bright side, pray do ; it's a mercy if people have n't sensitive feelings, in this world. I am sure I wish I did n't feel as I do ; it only makes me completely wretched! I wish I could be as easy as the rest of you ! "
And the " rest of them" had good reason to breathe the same prayer, for Marie paraded her new misery as the reason and apology for all sorts of inflictions on every one about her. Every word that was spoken by anybody, everything that was done or was not done everywhere, was only a new proof that she was surrounded by hard-hearted, insensible beings, who were unmindful of her peculiar sorrows. Poor Eva heard some of these speeches; and nearly cried her little eyes out, in pity for her mamma, and in sorrow that she should make her so much distress.
In a week or two, there was a great improvement of symptoms, — one of those deceitful lulls, by which her inexorable disease so often beguiles the anxious heart, even on the verge of the grave. Eva's step was again in the garden, — in the balconies ; she played and laughed again, — and her father, in a transport, declared that they should soon have her as hearty as anybody. Miss Ophelia and the physician alone felt no encouragement from this illusive truce. There was one other heart, too, that felt the same certainty, and that was the little heart of Eva. What is it that sometimes speaks in the soul so calmly, so clearly, that its earthly time is short ? Is it the secret instinct of decaying nature, or the soul's impulsive throb, as immortality draws on ? Be it what it may, it rested in the heart of Eva, a calm, sweet, prophetic certainty that heaven was near; calm as the light of sunset, sweet as the bright stillness of autumn, there her little heart reposed, only troubled by sorrow for those who loved her so dearly.
For the child, though nursed so tenderly, and though life was unfolding before her with every brightness that love and wealth could give, had no regret for herself in dying.