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Winter brought another grave anxiety. Florence in her turn developed rheumatic fever and became alarmingly ill. The mother-bird flew to her in terror. On the way she met Henry Ward Beecher and told him of her deep distress, made still more poignant by the thought of the little children who might be left motherless. She was scarcely comforted by his assurance that he “had known stepmothers who were very good to their stepchildren” ! It was Christmas time, and she divided her time between the beloved patient and the children who must not lack their holiday cheer. “December 27. The day was a very distressing one to me. I sat much of the time beside Flossy with a strange feeling that I could keep her alive by some effort of my will. I seemed to contend with God, saying, ‘I gave up Julia, I can't give up Flossy — she has children.’ . . .” “December 28. Most of the day with dear Flossy, ”
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