The Young Step-Mother eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 626 pages of information about The Young Step-Mother.
had not always been one with the Kendal family.  It was all too soon that the conversation ended, and Maurice wakened suddenly at the vicarage wicket.  Mrs. Dusautoy herself came to meet them as the little boy was lifted out.  She had never been seen on her own feet so far from the house before!  But no one ever knew the terror she had suffered, when of all her three charges not one was safe but the little Albinia, whose ’poor Maurice’ and ‘all gone’ were as trying as her alternations of merriment.  The vicar, the curate, the parish clerk, the servants of the two establishments, and four policemen, were all gone different ways; and poor Mrs. Dusautoy’s day had been spent in hearing the results of their fruitless researches, or in worse presages, in which, as it now appeared, the river had played its part.

She kissed Maurice, and he did not rebel!  She kissed Sophy, and could have shaken off Ulick’s hand, but he only waited to hold up Hyder Ali as the real finder, before he ran off to desire the school-bell to be rung—­the signal for announcing a discovery.  It was well that Maurice was too much stunned and fatigued to be sensible what a commotion he had excited, or he might have thought it good fun.

The tidings from Malta came in almost as something secondary.  The case had been too hopeless for anything else to be looked for, and when Mrs. Dusautoy consigned her charge to a couch, with entreaties to her not to move, there was calm tenderness in Sophy’s voice as she told what needed to be told, and did not shrink from sympathy.  She was grateful and gentle, and lay all the rest of the day, sad and physically worn out, but quietly mournful, and no longer dwelling on the painful side of past transactions, her remorse had given way to resigned acquiescence, and desolation to a sense that there was one who understood her.  The sweet tones, and, above all, those two words, ‘dear Sophy,’ would come chiming back from some involuntary echo, and the turbid depths were at peace.

When Mr. Dusautoy came to her side, and held out his hand, his honest eyes brimming over, there was no repulsion in her manner of saying affectionately, ’You have had a great deal of trouble for my naughty little brother.’  So different was her whole tone, that her kind friends thought how much better for some minds was any certainty than suspense.  She bethought herself of sending to the Drurys, and showed rather gratification than her ordinary impatience at the manifold reports of the general sympathy, and of Bayford’s grief for its hero.  The poison was gone from her mind.

CHAPTER XXVIII.

The Family Office had been asked to receive the whole party on their return.  Mr. Kendal had business in London, and could not bear to part with the colonel till he had seen him safely lodged, and heard the surgeon’s opinion.

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