John had not much affection for his mother and sisters, and an antipathy to me. He bullied and punished me…every nerve I had feared him, and every morsel of flesh on my bones shrunk when he came near…the servants did not like to offend their young master by taking my part against him, and Mrs. Reed was blind and deaf on the subject: she never saw him strike or heard him abuse me, though he did both now and then in her very presence—more frequently, however, behind her back.
“I am glad you are no relation of mine; I will never call you aunt again as long as I live; I will never come to see you when I am grown up; and if any one asks me how I like you, and how you treated me, I will say the very thought of you makes me sick, and that you treated me with miserable cruelty.”
“I’ll kiss you and welcome; bend your head down.” Bessie stooped; we mutually embraced, and I followed her into the house quite comforted. That afternoon lapsed in peach and harmony; and in the evening Bessie told me some of her most enchaining stories, and sung me some of her sweetest songs. Even for me life had its gleams of sunshine.