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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 626 pages of information about The Young Step-Mother.

‘Delightful, I want to see what Maurice will say to the turkey-cock.’

‘Is it not too far for him?’

‘He would run quite as many miles in the garden,’ said Albinia, who would have walked in dread of a court of justice on her return, had not the scarlet hose been safely prancing on the road before her.

‘This way, then,’ said Mr. Kendal; ’I must get this draft changed at the bank.  Come, Maurice, you will see a friend there.’

‘Do you know, Edmund,’ said Albinia, as they set forth, ’my conscience smites me as to that youth; I think we have neglected him.’

’I cannot see what more we could have done.  If his uncle does not bring him forward in society, we cannot interfere.’

‘It must be a forlorn condition,’ said Albinia; ’he is above the other clerks, and he seems to be voted below the Bayford Elite, since the Polysyllable has made it so very refined!  One never meets him anywhere now it is too dark to walk after the banking hours.  Cannot we ask him to come in some evening?’

‘We cannot have our evenings broken up,’ said Mr. Kendal.  ’I should be glad to show him any kindness, but his uncle seems to have ruled it that he is to be considered more as his clerk than as one of his family, and I doubt if it would be doing him any service to interfere.’

They were now at the respectable old freestone building, with ‘Goldsmith’ inscribed on the iron window-blinds, and a venerable date carved over the door.  Inside, those blinds came high, and let in but little light over the tall desks, at which were placed the black-horsehair perches of the clerks, old Mr. Goldsmith himself occupying a lower throne, more accessible to the clients.  One of the high stools stood empty, and Albinia making inquiry, Mr. Goldsmith answered, with a dry, dissatisfied cough, that More, as he called him, had struck work, and gone home with a headache.

‘Indeed,’ said Albinia, ’I am sorry to hear it.  Mr. Hope said he thought him not looking well.’

‘He has complained of headache a good deal lately,’ said Mr. Goldsmith.  ‘Young men don’t find it easy to settle to business.’

Albinia’s heart smote her for not having thought more of her son’s rescuer, and she revolved what could or what might have been done.  It really was not easy to show him attention, considering Gilbert’s prejudice against his accent, and Mr. Kendal’s dislike to an interrupted evening, and all she could devise was a future call on Miss Goldsmith.  But for Maurice, it would have been a silent walk, and though her mind was a little diverted by his gallant attempt to bestride the largest pig in the farm-yard, she was sure Mr. Kendal was musing on the same topic, and was not surprised when, as they returned, he exclaimed, ’I have a great mind to go and see after that poor lad.’

‘This way, then,’ said Albinia, turning down a narrow muddy street parallel with the river.

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