"And this is my father, Mr. Minturn."
"It is indeed very strange, sir. You must summon all your nerve and fortitude to help us through. Never before were your strength and good strong common-sense more needed. I've nearly reached the end of my endurance. Please, sir, for Helen's sake, preserve your self-control and the best use of all your faculties, for you must now advise. Mr. Kemble, Captain Nichol is alive."
Brandt's words and effort had had their natural effect on the mind of Clara Heyward. They proved an increasing diversion of her thoughts, and slowly dispelled the morbid, leaden grief under which she had been sinking. Her new anxiety in regard to her lover's fortune and possible fate was a healthful counter-irritant. Half consciously she yielded to the influence of his strong, hopeful spirit, and almost before she was aware of it, she too began to hope. Chief of all, his manly tenderness and unbargaining love stole into her heart like a subtle balm; and responsive love, the most potent of remedies, was renewing her life. She found herself counting the days and then the hours that must intervene before the 25th. On Christmas eve her woman's nature triumphed, and she instinctively added such little graces to her toilet as her sombre costume permitted. She also arranged her beautiful hair in the style which she knew he admired. He might come; and she determined that his first glance should reveal that he was not serving one who was coldly apathetic to his brave endeavor and loyalty.
"Well, I want Dr. Barnes present when you meet him."
"Yes, indeed I will, Miss Lottie, as soon as we are opposite that grate fire of yours."
"No; his father and mother have, and he does not know them. It's going to be a question of time, I fear."