'Oh! no, no! It was their grandpapa's kindness.' Johnnie and Helen here peeped into the room; Arthur beckoned to them, and said, 'How should you like to go into the country with Aunt Theodora?'
'To see grandmamma and the peacock?' said Lord Martindale. Johnnie clung to his mother's hand, piteously whispering, 'Oh! don't send me away, mamma--I would try to bear it if I ought.'
Helen climbed the bed, and sturdily seated herself close to her papa. 'I shall not desert my father and mother,' said she, with great dignity, drawing up her head.
'No more you shall, my little heroine!' said Arthur, throwing his arm round her, while she glanced with saucy triumph at her grandfather.
In the silence of night, when Arthur was alone with his father, he said, 'If those little girls go away now, they will never remember me.'
To this plea there could be no reply; for though the danger was no longer imminent, it was still extremely doubtful whether he would ever leave his room again.
His wish to keep the children made Lord Martindale reconsider of sending Theodora home, and he desired Violet to choose between her and himself. She thought Theodora the most effective, and Arthur seemed to prefer her remaining, so that she found herself disposed of according to her wishes, her father only stipulating that she should not neglect rest, air, or exercise, of which she stood in evident need.
Every one observed her haggard looks on the day when they met for the baptism of 'Arthur Fotheringham.' It was a melancholy christening, without the presence of either parent; and so all the little party felt it, and yet, if they could have seen into the recesses of the mother's heart, they would have found there were causes which made this baptism day better to her than any of the former ones.