the passages, thanks to all the new life that had entered the house.... Ten years, thought Constance, while she put on the light in her room, before dressing: was it really ten years?... Immediately after the death of her poor brother Gerrit--poor Adeline and the children had moved from their house to a cheap pension--came the death of old Mr. Van der Welcke, just as she, Van der Welcke and Addie, going through Gerrit's papers, had come upon this letter:
"Addie, I recommend my children to your care; my wife I recommend to yours, Constance."
It was the letter of a sick man, mentally and physically sick, who already saw death's wings beating before his eyes. And even in that shabby pension Addie had taken charge of the children, as though he were their own young father; but, when the old gentleman died and both Van der Welcke and Addie insisted on moving to Driebergen, then the boy had stepped forward boldly as the protector of those nine children, as the protector of that poor w
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