On that same occasion I learned, for the first time, from Miss Abbot's
communications to Bessie, that my father had been a poor clergyman; that
my mother had married him against the wishes of her friends, who
considered the match beneath her; that my grandfather Reed was so
irritated at her disobedience, he cut her off without a shilling; that
after my mother and father had been married a year, the latter caught the
typhus fever while visiting among the poor of a large manufacturing town
where his curacy was situated, and where that disease was then prevalent:
that my mother took the infection from him, and both died within a month
of each other.
Bessie, when she heard this narrative, sighed and said, "Poor Miss Jane
is to be pitied, too, Abbot."
"Yes," responded Abbot; "if she were a nice, pretty child, one might
compassionate her forlornness; but one really cannot care for such a
little toad as that."
"Not a great deal, to be sure," agreed Bessie: "at any rate, a beauty
like Miss Georgiana would be more moving in the same condition."
"Yes, I doat on Miss Georgiana!" cried the fervent Abbot. "Little
darling!--with her long curls and her blue eyes, and such a sweet colour
as she has; just as if she were painted!--Bessie, I could fancy a Welsh
rabbit for supper."
"So could I--with a roast onion. Come, we'll go down." They went.