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That Unfortunate Marriage, Vol. 2   By: (1835-1913)

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Publishers in Ordinary to Her Majesty the Queen.


( All rights reserved. )



Four months in their passage leave traces, more or less perceptible, on us all. On the first evening of May's arrival, her grandmother drew her to the window, where the rosy light of a fine summer evening shone full on her face, and scrutinized her long and lovingly. Then she kissed her grand daughter's cheek, and tapping her lightly on the forehead, said, "This is not the big baby I parted from. You're a woman now, my lass. God bless thee!" May stoutly declared that she was not changed at all; that she had returned from all the pomps and vanities just the same May as ever. But on her side she found changes.

On her first view of it in the glow of a rosy sunset, Jessamine Cottage had been looking its best. The little parlour was fragrant with flowers, and May's tiny bedroom was a pleasant nest of white dimity, smelling of lavender and dried rose leaves. She thought the house delightful. But a very brief acquaintance showed it to be badly built and inconvenient one of those paltry "bandboxes" of which Mrs. Dobbs had been wont to speak with contempt. Moreover, there was an indefinable air of greater poverty than she remembered in Friar's Row; and last and worst of all she thought granny herself looking ill. When she hinted this privately to Uncle Jo, he scouted the idea. Ill? No, no; Sarah was never ill. There was nothing amiss with Sarah. But the suggestion made him look at his old friend with new observation, and he was forced to acknowledge to himself that she was not quite so active as formerly. But he still would not admit the idea of illness. "She'll be all right now she's got you back again, Miranda," said Mr. Weatherhead, incautiously. "It's the sperrit, you see the sperrit has been preying on the body. There's where it is."

The idea that granny had been fretting at her absence strengthened May in her resolution not to return to London. If it were absolutely insisted upon she must, she supposed, keep the compact and pay her visit to Glengowrie. But after that she would resume her place by her grandmother's side the place to which duty and affection equally bound her. She wrote to her father announcing this intention. And she suggested that the money spent on her expenses in London would be far better employed in paying granny handsomely for her board. "I do not think she is so well off as she used to be," wrote May in simple good faith. "And I am sure, my dear father, you will feel with me that we are bound to do anything in the world we can to help her, after all her goodness to me."

The subject which mainly occupied Mrs. Dobbs's waking thoughts after May's arrival was the unknown "gentleman of princely fortune" who might turn out to be May's fate. But, try as she would, she could find no clue to May's feeling about this individual, nor could she discover who he might be. Once she tried a joking question of a general kind about sweethearts and admirers, but May's response was as far as possible from the tone of a lovelorn maiden.

"Oh, for goodness' sake, granny, don't talk of such things. It makes me sick !" was her very unexpected exclamation. And then, with a little judicious cross questioning, the story of Theodore Bransby's wooing came out.

"Well, well, well, child, you needn't be so fierce! Poor young man! I can't help feeling sorry for his disappointment," said Mrs. Dobbs.

"Don't waste your sorrow on him, granny; he ought to have known better."

"Well, as to that, May " began her grandmother, with a slow smile spreading over her face... Continue reading book >>

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