Behind A Mask by Louisa May Alcott writing as A M Barnard Page 2 of 111
"How will you bear it now?" asked Lucia.
"Leave the house while she is in it."
"No, you won't. You're too lazy, Gerald," called out a younger and more energetic man, from the recess where he stood teasing his dogs.
"I'll give her a three days' trial; if she proves endurable I shall not disturb myself; if, as I am sure, she is a bore, I'm off anywhere, anywhere out of her way."
"I beg you won't talk in that depressing manner, boys. I dread the coming of a stranger more than you possibly can, but Bella must not be neglected; so I have nerved myself to endure this woman, and Lucia is good enough to say she will attend to her after tonight."
"Don't be troubled, Mamma. She is a nice person, I dare say, and when once we are used to her, I've no doubt we shall be glad to have her, it's so dull here just now. Lady Sydney said she was a quiet, accomplished, amiable girl, who needed a home, and would be a help to poor stupid me, so try to like her for my sake."
"I will, dear, but isn't it getting late? I do hope nothing has happened. Did you tell them to send a carriage to the station for her, Gerald?"
"I forgot it. But it's not far, it won't hurt her to walk" was the languid reply.
"It was indolence, not forgetfulness, I know. I'm very sorry; she will think it so rude to leave her to find her way so late. Do go and see to it, Ned."
"Too late, Bella, the train was in some time ago. Give your orders to me next time. Mother and I'll see that they are obeyed," said Edward.
"Ned is just at an age to make a fool of himself for any girl who comes in his way. Have a care of the governess, Lucia, or she will bewitch him."
Gerald spoke in a satirical whisper, but his brother heard him and answered with a good-humored laugh.
"I wish there was any hope of your making a fool of yourself in that way, old fellow. Set me a good example, and I promise to follow it. As for the governess, she is a woman, and should be treated with common civility. I should say a little extra kindness wouldn't be amiss, either, because she is poor, and a stranger."
"That is my dear, good-hearted Ned! We'll stand by poor little Muir, won't we?"