Very wonderfully the child looked up into her eyes, and raising his waxen hand he wiped her tears away, saying as he did so, "Loui' love Maude."
With a choking sob Maude kissed her baby brother, then going back to her mother, whose head still lay upon the table, she whispered, "We will love poor Louis all the more, you and I."
Blessed Maude, we say again, for these were no idle words, and the clinging, tender love with which she cherished her unfortunate brother ought to have shamed the heartless man who, when he heard of his affliction, refused to be comforted, and almost cursed the day when his only son was born. He had been absent for a week or more, and with the exception of the time when he first knew he had a son he did not remember of having experienced a moment of greater happiness than that in which he reached his home where dwelt his boy--his pride--his idol. Louis was not in the room, and on the mother's face there was an expression of sadness, which at once awakened the father's fears lest something had befallen his child.
"Where is Louis?" he asked. "Has anything happened to him that you look so pale?"
"Louis is well," answered Matty, and then, unable longer to control her feelings, she burst into tears, while the doctor looked on in amazement, wondering if all women were as nervous and foolish as the two it had been his fortune to marry.
"Oh, husband," she cried, feeling sure of his sympathy, and thinking it better to tell the truth at once; "has it never occurred to you that Louis was not like other children?"
"Of course it has," he answered quickly. "He is a thousand times brighter than any child I have ever known."
"'Tisn't that, 'tisn't that," said Matty. "He'll never walk--he's lame--deformed!"