All eyes turned as the second coach bearing Robert’s frail body and his nurse, came down the avenue and drew up behind them. Charles had hired the nurse for Robert when they had docked in Ayr four days ago. Even so, Leigha had refused to leave his side until that morning when Charles had insisted that she rest on what remained of their trip. All were anxious now to see how Robert had faired on this last day of his long journey home.
Emily went to stand apprehensively with her husband, her face now drawn and pale as Gordon and Leigha went over to the coach. She could barely stifle a gasp of shock as she watched Gordon lift the unconscious Robert from within the confines of the carriage and carry him into the house, with Leigha and the nurse following close behind. Stepping quickly after them, Emily fought her tears as Robert was laid down upon the divan in the great hall. Charles put his arm around his wife’s slender shoulders, giving her what support he could. The servants that had assembled to greet their Laird stood aside, silently watching; saddened by the tearful sorrow they saw on their Lady’s face as she gazed down at the fragile, pale shadow of her son. Unable to contain the grief that welled up inside of her so strongly, she fell to her knees beside him with a heavy sob and embraced his still form.
“M-mother?” Robert spoke weakly, his voice raspy and barely above a whisper as he stirred to consciousness at her touch. “Am . . . am I really home?”
“Yes dear, you are home now and I am with you,” she answered, her voice choked by her tears as she spoke. “Everything will be all right now. You are safe and you will be well, I know you will!”
“Emily,” Charles said softly and offered her his hand as Robert closed his eyes, seeming to be at peace now with a faint smile upon his thin lips, “Come away, my dear. Let the servants carry him up to his room. He needs his rest.”
“Yes, yes of course,” she agreed, slowly rising to be held by Charles as the beckoned servants came forward to carefully carry Robert up to his room. “The rest will do him good now that he is home.”
“It will at least make his passing happier and more comfortable for him, I’m sure,” Charles said frankly, turning his wife to face him as he spoke. “You did receive my letter telling you what happened, did you not?”
“Yes, Charles, I did. It’s just that I had hoped, nay, prayed that he would not be as bad off as you had stated, that there may be a chance that he might live!”
“There is no hope, my love. It is a miracle that he still lives! I had a doctor in Ayr examine him carefully as soon as we docked. He believes that it has been Robert’s sheer strength of will alone that has managed to keep him alive this long. All that men of medicine know, speaks against his survival,” he said softly, shaking his head sadly as Emily’s tearful eyes caught his and held them fast. She listened heartbroken to his words before burying her face against his chest and clutching him close in her anguish as he went on. “He will die, my love. We must accept that and give all of our efforts to make him as comfortable as possible in his last days. No amount of weeping will help. We must be strong for his sake and just as importantly, for Leigha’s.”
Dagon’s Blood (p.522) ~ Virginia Lee ~ Kindle edition http://amzn.to/xYy0gL
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