Whenever Mrs. Bell died, Lydia knew she must look out for a fresh home, and that day could surely now not be very distant.
"I can't do it," he said. "I can't let Maurice go to sech a cruel lifeâ€”I can't, I can't! I can't give hup the hope o' seeing my old mother. I must see my old mother once again. And I can't steal Cecile's purse. Oh! wot shall I do?"
"Aye, like enough 'twas a slip of your tongue. But you said, 'Mother'; you said it without the 'step' added on. You don't knowâ€”not that it matters nowâ€”but you won't never know how that 'stepmother' hardened my heart against you and Maurice, child."