ing forward of every possible grievance, to have each in turn talked over, and sympathized about, and smoothed down by her patient hand. Such talks were not without their effect on the boy; much that his mother said appealed to his good sense and good feeling, though he but seldom gave her the satisfaction of seeing this directly. But they were very wearing to her, and it was carrying motherly unselfishness too far to undertake such discussion with Geoff, when she was already worn out with unusual anxiety.
She smiled, however, brightly enough, in reply to his questions. It cheered her to see that he could consider her even thus much.
"Of course I can speak to you, Geoff. Have you anything particular to tell me?"
"Lots of things," said the boy. He drew forward a chair in which to settle himself comfortably beside his mother, darting an indignant glance at his sisters as he did so. "Humbugging me as usual about mamma--anything to keep me away from her," he muttered. But Elsa and Fr