Heartsease or Brother's Wife HTML version

Chapter II.3
But there was one fairy who was offended because she was not invited to the
Christening.--MOTHER BUNCH
Theodora had spent the winter in trying not to think of her brother.
She read, she tried experiments, she taught at the school, she instructed the
dumb boy, talked to the curate, and took her share of such county gaieties as
were not beneath the house of Martindale; but at every tranquil moment came
the thought, 'What are Arthur and his wife doing!'
There were rumours of the general admiration of Mrs. Martindale, whence she
deduced vanity and extravagance; but she heard nothing more till Jane Gardner,
a correspondent, who persevered in spite of scanty and infrequent answers,
mentioned her call on poor Mrs. Martindale, who, she said, looked sadly altered,
unwell, and out of spirits. Georgina had tried to persuade her to come out, but
without success; she ought to have some one with her, for she seemed to be a
good deal alone, and no doubt it was trying; but, of course, she would soon have
her mother with her.
He leaves her alone--he finds home dull! Poor Arthur! A moment of triumph was
followed by another of compunction, since this was not a doll that he was
neglecting, but a living creature, who could feel pain. But the anticipation of
meeting Mrs. Moss, after all those vows against her, and the idea of seeing his
house filled with vulgar relations, hardened Theodora against the wife, who had
thus gained her point.
Thus came the morning, when her father interrupted breakfast with an
exclamation of dismay, and John's tidings were communicated.
I wish I had been kind to her! shot across Theodora's mind with acute pain, and
the image of Arthur in grief swallowed up everything else. 'I will go with you,
papa--you will go at once!'
'Poor young thing!' said Lord Martindale; 'she was as pretty a creature as I ever
beheld, and I do believe, as good. Poor Arthur, I am glad he has John with him.'
Lady Martindale wondered how John came there,--and remarks ensued on his
imprudence in risking a spring in England. To Theodora this seemed indifference
to Arthur’s distress, and she impatiently urged her father to take her to him at
He would not have delayed had Arthur been alone; but since John was there, he
thought their sudden arrival might be more encumbering than consoling, and
decided to wait for a further account, and finish affairs that he could not easily
Theodora believed no one but herself could comfort Arthur, and was exceedingly
vexed. She chafed against her father for attending to his business--against her
mother for thinking of John; and was in charity with no one except Miss Piper,
who came out of Mrs. Nesbit's room red with swallowing down tears, and with the
under lady's-maid, who could not help begging to hear if Mrs. Martindale was so
ill, for Miss Standaloft said, 'My lady had been so nervous and hysterical in her
own room, that she had been forced to give her camphor and sal volatile.'