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his path a hideous reptile, which, with wide-distended

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He had sold off all his own horses, and had not ridden since his illness, and the thought seemed to excite him like a boy. His eyes sparkled at the sight of the noble hunter sent for him; and Violet had seldom felt happier than as she stood with the children on the grass-plat, hearing her sisters say how well he looked on horseback, as he turned back to wave her an adieu, with so lover-like a gesture, and so youthful an air, that it seemed to bring back the earliest days of their marriage.

his path a hideous reptile, which, with wide-distended

This quiet day, only diversified by a call from Lord St. Erme and Lady Lucy, and by accompanying Mrs. Moss to make some visits to old friends in the town, brought Violet to a fuller comprehension of her own family.

his path a hideous reptile, which, with wide-distended

Her mother was what she herself might have become but for John. She was an excellent person, very sensible, and completely a lady; but her spirit had been broken by a caustic, sharp-tempered, neglectful husband, and she had dragged through the world bending under her trials, not rising above them. Her eldest daughter had been sent to a fashionable school, and had ever since domineered over the whole family, while the mother sank into a sort of bonne to the little ones, and a slave to her husband. There was much love for her among her fine handsome girls, but little honour for the patient devotion and the unfailing good sense that judged aright, but could not act.

his path a hideous reptile, which, with wide-distended

Annette, her chief comfort, tried to bring up her pupil Octavia to the same esteem for her; but family example was stronger than precept, and Annette had no weight; while even Mr. Hunt's determination that Olivia should show due regard to her mother, was looked on as one of his rusticities. Poor Mrs. Moss was so unused to be treated as a person of importance, that she could hardly understand the attention paid her, not only by Violet, but by the Colonel; while the two young sisters, who regarded Violet and her husband as the first of human beings, began to discover that 'O, it is only mamma!' was not the most appropriate way of speaking of her; and that when they let her go on errands, and wait on every one, Violet usually took the office on herself.

So busy was Mrs. Moss, that Violet had very few minutes of conversation with her, but she saw more of Annette, in whom the same meek character was repeated, with the tendency to plaintiveness that prevented its real superiority from taking effect. She drooped under the general disregard, saw things amiss, but was hopeless of mending them; and for want of the spirit of cheerfulness, had become faded, worn, and weary. Violet tried to talk encouragingly, but she only gave melancholy smiles, and returned to speak of the influences that were hurting Octavia.

'Do not let us dwell on what we cannot help,' said Violet; 'let us do our best, and then leave it in the best Hands, and He will bring out good. You cannot think how much happier I have been since I knew it was wrong to be faint-hearted.'

Before the end of the day she had seen her mother and Annette look so much more cheerful, that the wish crossed her that she could often be at hand.

By and by Arthur came home in the highest spirits, tossing Annie in the air, as he met her in the passage, and declaring himself so far from tired that he had not felt so well for a year, and that the mountain breezes had taken the weight off his chest for good and all. He was in perfect raptures with Lassonthwayte and with its master, had made an engagement to bring Violet, her mother, and the children, to stay there a week, and--'What more do you think?' said he.