Marie St. Clare had taken no notice of the child’s gradually decaying health and strength, because she was completely absorbed in studying out two or three new forms of disease to which she believed she herself was a victim. It was the first principle of Marie’s belief that nobody ever was or could be so great a sufferer as herself; and, therefore, she always repelled quite indignantly any suggestion that any one around her could be sick. She was always sure, in such a case, that it was nothing but laziness, or want of energy; and that, if they had had the suffering she had, they would soon know the difference.
“What makes you sad, and seems dreadful, Eva?” “O, things that are done, and done all the time. I feel sad for our poor people; they love me dearly, and they are all good and kind to me. I wish, papa, they were all free.”
“I’ve always had a prejudice against Negroes,” said Miss Ophelia, “and it’s a fact, I never could bear to have that child touch me; but, I don’t think she knew it.” “Trust any child to find that out,” said St. Clare; “there’s no keeping it from them.
The friend who knew most of Eva’s own imaginings and foreshadowings was her faithful bearer, Tom. To him she said what she would not disturb her father by saying. To him she imparted those mysterious intimations which the soul feels, as the cords begin to unbind, ere it leaves its clay forever.
“Eva,” said St. Clare, gently. She did not hear. “O, Eva, tell us what you see! What is it?” said her father. A bright, a glorious smile passed over her face, and she said, brokenly,—“O! love,—joy,—peace!” gave one sigh and passed from death unto life!