She saw in the twilight a slight bending form, coming down, holding by the balusters. Violet was in her arms, clasping her with a trembling, almost convulsive tightness, without speaking.
'O, Violet, what is it? Is he so very ill?'
Lord Martindale hastened up at the same moment, and Violet recovering, in a few words, spoken very low, but clearly, told of his condition, adding, 'He has been watching for you all this time, he heard you come, and wants you directly, but don't let him speak.'
She hung on Theodora's arm, and guided them up, as if hardly able to stand. She opened the outer room door, and there (while the nurse had taken her place) sat Johnnie on the rug, with the baby lying across his lap, and his arms clasped tenderly round it. It was restless, and he looked up to his mother, who bent down and took it in her arms, while Lord Martindale passed on. Theodora stood appalled and overawed. This was beyond even her fears.
'Thank you for coming,' said Violet, who had sunk into a chair.
But a look of horror came over Violet; she started up, almost threw the infant into Theodora's arms, and vanished into the other room. 'Oh! what is it! What is the matter?' exclaimed Theodora.
'The cough, the blood,' said Johnnie, in a low voice; and turning away with a suppressed sob he threw himself down, and hid his face on a chair. She was in an agony to pass that closed door, but the baby was fretting and kept her prisoner.
After some minutes had thus passed, her father appeared, and would have gone on without seeing her, but she detained him by an imploring cry and gasp, and entreated to hear what had happened.