Heartsease or Brother's Wife HTML version

Chapter II.22
Sigh no more, lady, lady, sigh no more,
Men were deceivers ever,
One foot on shore and one on land,
To one thing constant never.--Percy's Reliques
'So, you say Miss Martindale has left town?'
'Yes; Violet writes me that the family passed through London, and took her to the
continent on Tuesday.'
'Then let Annette know she is to be ready to come with me to town on Monday.
We shall see if it is the young lady's doing, or whether Mrs. Martindale intends to
give herself airs with her father and sister.'
'Poor dear,' sighed the good care-worn mother, 'I do long to hear of her; but may
I not write first? I should not like to get the dear child into trouble.'
'On no account write, or we shall have some excuse about pre- engagements. I
shall take Annette at once, and see with my own eyes. Martindale can never
have the face to hinder her from asking her own sister to stay in the house, when
once she is there.'
'I hope he is kind to her!' said Mrs. Moss. 'I long to hear whether she is quite
recovered; and she says so little of herself. She will be glad to see her sister, and
yet, one does not like to seem pushing.'
'Never you mind,' said the acute, sharp-faced attorney, putting her aside as if she
was presuming beyond her sphere; 'only you get Annette ready. Since we found
such a match for Violet, she is bound to help off her sisters; and as to Annette, a
jaunt is just what is wanting to drive that black coat out of her head. I wish he had
never come near the place. The girl might have had the Irish captain, if she had
not been running after him and his school. Tell her to be ready on Monday.'
Meek Mrs. Moss never dared to question her husband's decision; and she had
suffered too much anxiety on her daughter's account, not to rejoice in the
prospect of a trustworthy report, for Violet's letters were chiefly descriptions of
her children.
There was much soreness in the Moss family respecting Violet, and two opinions
with regard to her; some inclining to believe her a fine lady, willing to discard her
kindred; others thinking her not a free agent, but tyrannized over by Miss
Martindale, and neglected by her husband. So Annette, who had pined and
drooped under the loss of the twin-like companionship of her sister, was sent out
as on an adventure, in much trepidation and mysterious dread of Captain
Martindale, by no means consistent with the easy good nature of his days of
courtship. And thus her first letter was written and received with such feelings as
attend that of an explorer of a new country.
'Cadogan-place, August 19th.
'Well, dearest mamma, I am writing from Violet's house. Yes, she is her own
sweet self, our precious flower still--nobody must think anything else--she is not
changed one bit, except that she is terribly pale and thin; but she calls herself
quite well, and says that if I had seen her when Johnny was five weeks old, I