38. CHAPTER THIRTY-EIGHT
"Yes," she would say, looking in the glass, "I'm getting
old and ugly. John doesn't find me interesting any longer, so
he leaves his faded wife and goes to see his pretty neighbor,
who has no incumbrances. Well, the babies love me, they don't
care if I am thin and pale and haven't time to crimp my hair,
they are my comfort, and some day John will see what I've
gladly sacrificed for them, won't he, my precious?"
To which pathetic appeal daisy would answer with a coo,
or Demi with a crow, and Meg would put by her lamentations for
a maternal revel, which soothed her solitude for the time being.
But the pain increased as politics absorbed John, who was always
running over to discuss interesting points with Scott, quite
unconscious that Meg missed him. Not a word did she say, however,
till her mother found her in tears one day, and insisted
on knowing what the matter was, for Meg's drooping spirits had
not escaped her observation.
"I wouldn't tell anyone except you, Mother, but I really
do need advice, for if John goes on much longer I might as well
be widowed," replied Mrs. Brooke, drying her tears on Daisy's
bib with an injured air.
"Goes on how, my dear?" asked her mother anxiously.
"He's away all day, and at night when I want to see him,
he is continually going over to the Scotts'. It isn't fair
that I should have the hardest work, and never any amusement.
Men are very selfish, even the best of them."
"So are women. Don't blame John till you see where you
are wrong yourself."
"But it can't be right for him to neglect me."
"Don't you neglect him?"
"Why, Mother, I thought you'd take my part!"
"So I do, as far as sympathizing goes, but I think the fault
is yours, Meg."