Uncle Max eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 570 pages of information about Uncle Max.

‘Are his sisters very young, then?  Does Miss Darrell manage the house?’

‘Yes.  How could you guess that?’ looking at me in surprise.  ’Gladys, Miss Hamilton, is about three-and-twenty, but she is very delicate; the younger one, Elizabeth, is two years younger; they are Hamilton’s half-sisters,—­his father married twice:  that accounts for a good deal.’

‘How do you mean,—­accounts for a good deal, Max?’

‘Why people say that Hamilton doesn’t always get on with his sisters,’ he returned reluctantly:  ’there are often misunderstandings in families,—­want of harmony, and that sort of thing.  Mind, I do not say it is true.’

‘But you are so often at Gladwyn, you ought to know, Max.’

’Yes, of course; and now and then I have seen Hamilton a little stern with his sisters; he is rather irritable by nature.  I don’t quite understand things myself, but I have got it into my head that they would be happier without Miss Darrell; she is a splendid manager, but it puts Miss Hamilton out of her right place.’

‘But she is an invalid, you say?’

’No, not an invalid, only very delicate, and a little morbid; not quite what a girl ought to be.  You could do some good there, Ursula,’ rather eagerly.  ’Miss Hamilton has no friends of her own age; she is reserved,—­peculiar.  You might be a comfort to her; you are sympathetic, sensible, and have known trouble yourself.  I should like to see you use your influence there.’

‘I will try, if you wish it, Max.  And her name is Gladys?’

‘Yes, Gladys, of Gladwyn,’ he returned, with a smile, but I thought he said it with rather a singular intonation, but it had a musical sound, and I repeated it again to myself,—­’Gladys, of Gladwyn.’

CHAPTER VIII

NEW BROOMS SWEEP CLEAN

We were interrupted just then by Mrs. Drabble, who came in for the tea-things, and, as usual, held a long colloquy with her master on sundry domestic affairs.  When she had at last withdrawn, Uncle Max did not resume the subject.  I was somewhat disappointed at this, and in spite of my strong antipathy to Mr. Hamilton I wanted to hear more about his sisters.

He disregarded my hints, however, and began talking to me about my work.

‘Do you know anything about the family Mr. Hamilton mentioned?’ I asked, rather eagerly.

’Oh yes; Mary Marshall’s is a very sad case; she has seven children, not one of them old enough to work for himself; and she is dying, poor creature, of consumption.  Her husband is a navvy, and he is at work at Lewes; I believe he is pretty steady, and sends the greater part of his wages to his wife, but there are too many mouths to feed to allow of comforts; his old blind mother lives with them.  I believe the neighbours are kind and helpful, and Peggy, the eldest child, is a sharp little creature, but you can imagine the miserable condition of such a home.’

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Uncle Max from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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