“She says her temper has become that of a fiend.”
“She is passionate, there is no doubt. She nearly fell on us both this afternoon. She is too much swayed by every little incident. Everything makes a vivid impression on her and shakes her to pieces. It is rather absurd and disproportionate now, like the long legs of a foal, but it is a sign of growth. My experience is that people without that fire of enthusiasm on the one side and righteous indignation on the other never achieve anything except in domestic life. If Hester lives, she will outgrow her passionate nature, or at least she will grow up to it and become passive, contemplative. Then, instead of unbalanced anger and excitement, the same nature which is now continually upset by them will have learned to receive impressions calmly and, by reason of that receptiveness and insight, she will go far.”
Only those who know the supremacy of the Intellectual life—the life which has a seed of ennobling thought and purpose within it—can understand the grief of one who falls from that serene activity into the absorbing soul-wasting struggle with worldly annoyances.—GEORGE ELIOT.
Hester in the meanwhile was expressing wonder and astonishment at the purchases of the children, who, with the exception of Mary, had spent their little all on presents for Fraeulein, whose birthday was on the morrow. After Mary’s tiny white bone umbrella had been discovered to be a needle-case, and most of the needles had been recovered from the floor, Regie extracted from its paper a little china cow. But, alas! the cow’s ears and horns remained in the bag, owing possibly to the incessant passage of the parcel from one pocket to another on the way home. Regie looked at the remnants in the bag, and his lip quivered, while Mary, her own umbrella safely warehoused, exclaimed, “Oh, Regie!” in tones of piercing reproach.
But Hester quickly suggested that she could put them on again quite easily, and Fraeulein would like it just as much. Still, it was a blow. Regie leaned his head against Hester’s shoulder.
Hester pressed her cheek against his little dark head. Sybell Loftus had often told Hester that she could have no idea of the happiness of a child’s touch till she was a mother; that she herself had not an inkling till then. But perhaps some poor substitute for that exquisite feeling was vouchsafed to Hester.