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I must pause yet once again. O, my child-wife, there is a figure
in the moving crowd before my memory, quiet and still, saying in
its innocent love and childish beauty, Stop to think of me - turn
to look upon the Little Blossom, as it flutters to the ground!

I do. All else grows dim, and fades away. I am again with Dora,
in our cottage. I do not know how long she has been ill. I am so
used to it in feeling, that I cannot count the time. It is not
really long, in weeks or months; but, in my usage and experience,
it is a weary, weary while.

They have left off telling me to 'wait a few days more'. I have
begun to fear, remotely, that the day may never shine, when I shall
see my child-wife running in the sunlight with her old friend Jip.

He is, as it were suddenly, grown very old. It may be that he
misses in his mistress, something that enlivened him and made him
younger; but he mopes, and his sight is weak, and his limbs are
feeble, and my aunt is sorry that he objects to her no more, but
creeps near her as he lies on Dora's bed - she sitting at the
bedside - and mildly licks her hand.

Dora lies smiling on us, and is beautiful, and utters no hasty or
complaining word. She says that we are very good to her; that her
dear old careful boy is tiring himself out, she knows; that my aunt
has no sleep, yet is always wakeful, active, and kind. Sometimes,
the little bird-like ladies come to see her; and then we talk about
our wedding-day, and all that happy time.

What a strange rest and pause in my life there seems to be - and in
all life, within doors and without - when I sit in the quiet,
shaded, orderly room, with the blue eyes of my child-wife turned
towards me, and her little fingers twining round my hand! Many and
many an hour I sit thus; but, of all those times, three times come
the freshest on my mind.

It is morning; and Dora, made so trim by my aunt's hands, shows me
how her pretty hair will curl upon the pillow yet, an how long and
bright it is, and how she likes to have it loosely gathered in that
net she wears.
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