Mary: A Fiction

by Mary Wollstonecraft

Previous Chapter Next Chapter

Chapter XXVIII

Just as she was going to quit her room, to visit Henry, his mother called on her.

"My son is worse to-day," said she, "I come to request you to spend not only this day, but a week or two with me.--Why should I conceal any thing from you? Last night my child made his mother his confident, and, in the anguish of his heart, requested me to be thy friend--when I shall be childless. I will not attempt to describe what I felt when he talked thus to me. If I am to lose the support of my age, and be again a widow--may I call her Child whom my Henry wishes me to adopt?"

This new instance of Henry's disinterested affection, Mary felt most forcibly; and striving to restrain the complicated emotions, and sooth the wretched mother, she almost fainted: when the unhappy parent forced tears from her, by saying, "I deserve this blow; my partial fondness made me neglect him, when most he wanted a mother's care; this neglect, perhaps, first injured his constitution: righteous Heaven has made my crime its own punishment; and now I am indeed a mother, I shall loss my child--my only child!"

When they were a little more composed they hastened to the invalide; but during the short ride, the mother related several instances of Henry's goodness of heart. Mary's tears were not those of unmixed anguish; the display of his virtues gave her extreme delight--yet human nature prevailed; she trembled to think they would soon unfold themselves in a more genial clime.


Return to the Mary: A Fiction Summary Return to the Mary Wollstonecraft Library

© 2022