The Young Step-Mother eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 787 pages of information about The Young Step-Mother.

’No such thing.  It is a case of good hearty love.  What, are you afraid of that, too?’

’Yes, I am.  I grudge her giving her fresh whole young heart away to a man who has no return to make.  His heart is in his first wife’s grave.  Yes, you may smile, Maurice, as if I were talking romance; but only look at him, poor man!  Did you ever see any one so utterly broken down?  She can hardly beguile a smile from him.’

‘His melancholy is one of his charms in her eyes.’

’So it may be, as a sort of interesting romance.  I am sure I pity the poor man heartily, but to see her at three-and-twenty, with her sweet face and high spirits, give herself away to a man who looks but half alive, and cannot, if he would, return that full first love—­have the charge of a tribe of children, be spied and commented on by the first wife’s relations—­Maurice, I cannot bear it.’

‘It is not what we should have chosen,’ said her husband, ’but it has a bright side.  Kendal is a most right-minded, superior man, and she appreciates him thoroughly.  She has great energy and cheerfulness, and if she can comfort him, and rouse him into activity, and be the kind mother she will be to his poor children, I do not think we ought to grudge her from our own home.’

‘You and she have so strong a feeling for motherless children!’

‘Thinking of Kendal as I do, I have but one fear for her.’

‘I have many—­the chief being the grandmother.’

’Mine will make you angry, but it is my only one.  You, who have only known her since she has subdued it, have probably never guessed that she has that sort of quick sensitive temper—­’

’Maurice, Maurice! as if I had not been a most provoking, presuming sister-in-law.  As if I had not acted so that if Albinia ever had a temper, she must have shown it.’

’I knew you would not believe me, and I really am not afraid of her doing any harm by it, if that is what you suspect me of.  No, indeed; but I fear it may make her feel any trials of her position more acutely than a placid person would.’

‘Oho! so you own there will be trials!’

’My dear Winifred, as if I had not sat up till twelve last night laying them before Albinia.  How sick the poor child must be of our arguments, when there is no real objection, and she is so much attached!  Have you heard anything about these connexions of his?  Did you not write to Mrs. Nugent?  I wish she were at home.’

’I had her answer by this afternoon’s post, but there is nothing to tell.  Mr. Kendal has only been settled at Bayford Bridge a few years, and she never visited any one there, though Mr. Nugent had met Mr. Kendal several times before his wife’s death, and liked him.  Emily is charmed to have Albinia for a neighbour.’

‘Does she know nothing of the Meadows’ family?’

’Nothing but that old Mrs. Meadows lives in the town with one unmarried daughter.  She speaks highly of the clergyman.’

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The Young Step-Mother from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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