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The Young Step-Mother by Charlotte M. Yonge

Produced by Sandra Laythorpe

THE YOUNG STEP-MOTHER

or, A CHRONICLE OF MISTAKES

By Charlotte M Yonge

Fail--yet rejoice, because no less The failure that makes thy distress May teach another full success.

Nor with thy share of work be vexed Though incomplete and even perplexed It fits exactly to the next. ADELAIDE A PROCTOR

CHAPTER I.

'Have you talked it over with her?' said Mr. Ferrars, as his little slender wife met him under the beeches that made an avenue of the lane leading to Fairmead vicarage.

'Yes!' was the answer, which the vicar was not slow to understand.

'I cannot say I expected much from your conversation, and perhaps we ought not to wish it. We are likely to see with selfish eyes, for what shall we do without her?'

'Dear Albinia! You always taunted me with having married your sister as much as yourself.'

'So I shall again, if you cannot give her up with a good grace.'

'If I could have had my own way in disposing of her.'

'Perhaps the hero of your own composition might be less satisfactory to her than is Kendal.'

'At least he should be minus the children!'

'I fancy the children are one great attraction. Do you know how many there are?'

'Three; but if Albinia knows their ages she involves them in a discreet haze. I imagine some are in their teens.'

'Impossible, Winifred, he is hardly five-and-thirty.'

'Thirty-eight, he said yesterday, and he married very early. I asked Albinia if her son would be in tail-coats; but she thought I was laughing at her, and would not say. She is quite eager at the notion of being governess to the girls.'

'She has wanted scope for her energies,' said Mr. Ferrars. 'Even spoiling her nephew, and being my curate, have not afforded field enough for her spirit of usefulness.'

'That is what I am afraid of.'

'Of what, Winifred?'

'That it is my fault. Before our marriage, you and she were the whole world to each other; but since I came, I have seen, as you say, that the craving for work was strong, and I fear it actuates her more than she knows.'

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


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