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It may have been true that Jane Humphreys had during her father’s lifetime had her ambitions, but she was a clever woman and adapted herself to her circumstances. If, as the sergeant-major’s daughter, she had given herself airs, and had thrown herself in the way of the young officers, and had been light and flighty in her manner, all this was changed as soon as she was married, and even the most censorious were obliged to admit that she made Sergeant Humphreys a better wife than they had expected. His home was admirably kept, the gay dresses that had been somewhat beyond her station were cut up and altered, and she dressed neatly and quietly.
She was handy with her fingers, her things always fitted her well, and she gained the approbation of the officers’ wives, who had previously looked upon her with some disfavour as a forward young person. She made every effort to get on good terms with the wives of the other non-commissioned officers, and succeeded at last in overcoming the prejudice which, as Jane Farran, she had excited. There was no doubt that she was a clever woman, and it was equally beyond doubt that she completely managed her husband. She was much his superior in education, and possessing far greater abilities could twist him round her little finger, although she did it so cleverly that he never suspected that he was the victim of such an operation.
A month previous to the opening of the story she had been confined of a boy, and two days later Mrs. Clinton, the wife of the captain of her husband’s company, also became a mother. Before the week was over Mrs. Clinton was taken dangerously ill, and as it was impossible for her to nurse her child, the surgeon of the regiment recommended that it should be given into the charge of the sergeant’s wife, as she, being a strong and healthy young woman, could very well nurse it as well as her own. It was a month after this that Sergeant Humphreys, returning to his quarters, found his wife sitting by the side of the bed on which the two infants were asleep.
“They are as alike as two peas,” he said as he looked at them. “I am sure I wonder, Jane, that you know which is which!”
Mrs. Humphreys’ answer did not seem to the point. “Captain Clinton is a rich man, is he not, John?”
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