He was very much agitated. His sister hesitated, and then she spoke more softly than before--
"But, Thurstan, everything might have been done to 'lead her right' (as you call it), without this child, this miserable offspring of sin."
"The world has, indeed, made such children miserable, innocent as they are; but I doubt if this be according to the will of God, unless it be His punishment for the parents' guilt; and even then the world's way of treatment is too apt to harden the mother's natural love into something like hatred. Shame, and the terror of friends' displeasure, turn her mad--defile her holiest instincts; and, as for the fathers--God forgive them! I cannot--at least, not just now."
Miss Benson thought on what her brother said. At length she asked, "Thurstan (remember I'm not convinced), how would you have this girl treated according to your theory?"
"It will require some time, and much Christian love, to find out the best way. I know I'm not very wise; but the way I think it would be right to act in, would be this----" He thought for some time before he spoke, and then said--
"She has incurred a responsibility--that we both acknowledge. She is about to become a mother, and have the direction and guidance of a little tender life. I fancy such a responsibility must be serious and solemn enough, without making it into a heavy and oppressive burden, so that human nature recoils from bearing it. While we do all we can to strengthen her sense of responsibility, I would likewise do all we can to make her feel that it is responsibility for what may become a blessing."
"Whether the children are legitimate or illegitimate?" asked Miss Benson dryly.
"Yes!" said her brother firmly. "The more I think, the more I believe I am right. No one," said he, blushing faintly as he spoke, "can have a greater recoil from proffigacy than I have. You yourself have not greater sorrow over this young creature's sin than I have the difference is this, you confuse the consequences with the sin."