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Chapter 16 GOOD WORKS
The Rajah was delayed awhile, and when it sailed poor Mrs. Clara
was on board, for everything was ready. All thought she had better
go to comfort her husband, and since her boy died she seemed to
care very little what became of her. So, with friends to cheer the
long voyage, she sailed away, a heavyhearted woman, yet not quite
disconsolate, for she knew her mourning was excessively
becoming and felt sure that Stephen would not find her altered by
her trials as much as might have been expected.
Then nothing was left of that gay household but the empty rooms,
silence never broken by a blithe voice anymore, and pictures full
of promise, but all unfinished, like poor Charlie's life.
There was much mourning for the bonny Prince, but no need to tell
of it except as it affected Rose, for it is with her we have most to
do, the other characters being of secondary importance.
When time had soothed the first shock of sudden loss, she was
surprised to find the memory of his faults and failings, short life
and piteous death, grew dim, as if a kindly hand had wiped out the
record and given him back to her in the likeness of the brave,
bright boy she had loved, not as the wayward, passionate young
man who had loved her.
This comforted her very much, and folding down the last blotted
leaf where his name was written, she gladly turned back to reopen
and reread the happier chapters which painted the youthful knight
before he went out to fall in his first battle. None of the bitterness
of love bereaved marred this memory for Rose, because she found
that the warmer sentiment, just budding in her heart, had died with
Charlie and lay cold and quiet in his grave. She wondered, yet was
glad, though sometimes a remorseful pang smote her when she
discovered how possible it was to go on without him, feeling
almost as if a burden had been lifted off, since his happiness was
taken out of her hands. The time had not yet come when the
knowledge that a man's heart was in her keeping would make the
pride and joy of her life, and while she waited for that moment she
enjoyed the liberty she seemed to have recovered.
Such being her inward state, it much annoyed her to be regarded as
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