A Moment of Madness by Thomas Hardy (3)
'That's right, my dear. I'm sorry to say they haven't been to school at all. I'd like to bring them to live here with us, and I thought, by marrying a teacher, I could get someone to teach them, all for nothing. What do you think, Baptista?'
'Four grown girls, always around the house! And I hate teaching, it kills me! But I must do it, I can see that. I am punished for that moment of madness, I really am!'
Here the conversation ended. The next day Baptista had to welcome her husband's daughters into her home. They were not good-looking or intelligent or even well-dressed, and poor Baptista could only look forward to years of hard work with them. She went about, sighing miserably, with no hope for the future.
But when Heddegan asked her a month later, 'How do you like 'em now?' her answer was unexpected.
'Much better than at first,' she said. 'I may like them very much one day.'
And so began a more pleasant time for Baptista Heddegan.
She had discovered what kind, gentle girls these unwelcome daughters were. At first she felt sorry for them, then grew to like them. And from liking, she grew to love them. In the end they brought her and her husband closer together, and so Baptista and David were able to put the past behind them and find unexpected happiness in their married life.
- THE END -