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look upon elegance as almost synonymous with dashing, and to find every thing insipid or vulgar which was characterised by plainness and sobriety. No wonder she contemplated with mortified pride the unadorned aspect of things at home! We are all, it is true enough, marvellously forgetful of the outward life after we have lived long enough in the west to become indoctrinated with the current opinions but to return.
Unpleasant feelings were not wanting on the other side. So prone is youth to extremes, that it is not surprising that Caroline should have used her liberty and her father's liberal allowance in providing herself with dress which was rather gaudy than elegant. Her aunt had felt her inability to be a counsellor on a subject where her own views made her averse to even the smallest indulgence of taste or fancy, and the dressmaker had been but too happy to display all her art on so elegant a form those artists generally considering their employers rather in the light of sign-posts than of rational beings. So our poor Caroline was very fine. There
were such loads of curls that the fair head reminded one of a flourishing bed of Scotch kail, or of the decorations of some lucky child, who, having the petites entrées of a carpenter's shop, makes use of the opportunity to cover her eyes and ears with elegant pine shavings. Her fingers were heaped with incongruous rings; and worse than all were the long ear-pendants, which vibrated with every word, and seemed determined to repose their weary length on the snow-white shoulders below.
A costume, which would appear a little ultra even in the city, wears an air of absolute ridicule in the country; and while Caroline felt the plainness of her mother and sisters as a mortification to her pride, they, on their part, were absolutely ashamed of her finery. They could not think her ornaments improved her beauty, and, as a further and incontestible proof of their rustic breeding, they told her so, which made her cry, and then they were sorry; and, on the whole, there was a degree of constraint in their intercourse, which cast a
shadow on the delight of having Caroline at
home once more.
These things being so, we must acknowledge that it afforded rather a relief when word came that Mrs. Thurston, overcome by distress and fatigue, added to some exposure in her night ride, was quite ill at Mr. Ellingham's, and much in need of some friendly aid from Caroline or her mother. Seymour Bullitt brought the message, and Caroline, when she saw him by day-light, was more struck than before with the marvellous improvement in his appearance, and particularly with the quiet self-possession of his manner. Indeed she could not but own to herself that she had known a person, far his inferior in most respects, pass in the city as "a splendid fellow," but then, old recollections, and such a countrified name!
Mrs. Hay went to Mrs. Thurston, who grew worse daily; and after a few days' effort, ague accomplished its usual work by prostrating the nurse, and Caroline took her mother's place by the bedside of the sufferer.
This was a new scene for her, and one
which soon proved of absorbing interest. Mrs. Thurston's symptoms became more and more alarming, while she herself gained more and more upon the affections of her young attendant. Indeed it was impossible for an ingenuous mind to know her without loving her. No extremity of suffering ever overtasked her patience; no disappointment or omission of duty in others ever ruffled her serene countenance. Hers was that perfect self-forgetfulness which binds all around to a warm and voluntary attention; and Caroline felt that the cares and fatigues of such a sick chamber were anything but a task. She was sole nurse, for though every effort had been made to procure a regular one, there was no such being within ken, and the neighbours, though all kindness, were distant and could not leave their homes, or perhaps were detained by the illness of their own families; for it is one of the disadvantages of the country, that sickness is very apt to prevail in neighbourhoods, so as to make it difficult to procure attendance.
During this time of trial and anxiety.
Seymour was by no means an idle spectator. He had become interested in Mrs. Thurston and her husband, from the circumstances of his first meeting with them, and they in turn had appreciated his kind manner, and felt gratified by his friendly attentions. Now that they were in need of real and substan-tial aid, Seymour was at their service, and many times a day might have been observed galloping in various directions, on different errands of mercy, a most useful auxiliary in a country where the inhabitants are so scattered, and the ordinary comforts of the invalid sometimes far to seek. It not unfrequently fell to his lot to be the bearer of messages or more ponderous matters between Mr. Hay's house and the scene of suffering, and sometimes to escort to and fro the young nurse, when she could be spared for a little while.
It would be difficult to say exactly what Seymour's feelings were towards his fair enemy at this period. He thought them those of indifference; indeed, he sometimes concluded, of dislike. Her manner, though