LIFE AMONG THE LOWLY 365
* Which will afford you great consolation, no doubt! " srid St. Clare, in a dry, bitter tone.
Marie lay back on a lounge, and covered her face with her cambric handkerchief.
Eva's clear blue eye looked earnestly from one to the other. It was the calm, comprehending gaze of a soul half loosed from its earthly bonds ; it was evident she saw, felt, and appreciated the difference between the two.
She beckoned with her hand to her father. He came, and sat down by her.
" Papa, my strength fades away every day, and I know I must go. There are some things I want to say and do, — that I ought to do; and you are so unwilling to have me speak a word on the subject. But it must come ; there 's no putting it off. Do be willing I should speak now! "
" My child, I am willing! " said St. Clare, covering his eyes with one hand, and holding up Eva's hand with the other.
" Then, I want to see all our people together. I have some things I ?nust say to them," said Eva.
" Well" said St. Clare, in a tone of dry endurance.
Miss Ophelia dispatched a messenger, and soon the whole of the servants were convened in the room.
Eva lay back on her pillows; her hair hanging loosely about her face, her crimson cheeks contrasting painfully with the intense whiteness of her complexion and the thin contour of her limbs and features, and her large, soullike eyes fixed earnestly on every one.
The servants were struck with a sudden emotion. The spiritual face, the long locks of hair cut off and lying by her, her father's averted face, and Marie's sobs, struck at once upon the feelings of a sensitive and impressible race ; and as they came in, they looked one on another, sighed, and shook their heads. There was a deep silence like that of a funeral.
Eva raised herself, and looked long and earnestly round