"He stored my mind with its first treasures, and stamped his character upon them all. "

To the modern reader,  the evolution of this relationship might seem unsavoury, almost as if Dr. Strong had groomed and moulded Annie to become his bride.

However prior to and through the 1800s, it was not uncommon for a younger woman to wed an older gentleman. There were of course obvious financial considerations, and the older gentleman will often have been a friend of the family.