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such as are out, like myself, upon errands of necessity or mercy."

"Mr. Black," said Frank, "you can do me a very great service, if you will."

Begging Milly to excuse him, he drew the minister aside and spoke with him earnestly, while Milly waited, helplessly sure what this service was likely to be.

"Is the young woman quite satisfied in her mind as to the step she is taking?"

Mr. Black came close to Milly and took her hand, smiling upon her with his intimate, pastoral smile. Milly drew away her hand.

"If she has the least doubt, before it is too late I would advise a talk with my wife-an excellent woman, though I say it, and a woman of great experience where young girls are concerned."

Milly looked repellent. "You don't wish to talk to anybody, do you, Milly?" Frank answered for her. She assented silently.

"Very well; then let us go to my home, and take counsel with our thoughts as we go. And if no objections arise, and you feel that you can trust the state of mind you are in—"


FRANK had a few moments alone with Milly in the parlor of the parsonage after the ceremony, while Mr. Black consulted with his wife whether it would be possible for them to keep the bride over night.

"I must not take you to the Clarendon tonight, Milly. We cannot have it said around town that I brought you in out of the streets at 1 o'clock at night. I shall take rooms for my wife and come for her the first thing in the morning-my sweet! You won't be lonesome, will you? Does it seem a strange way to take care of you? I want to be so careful of you now, because it had to be so sudden. And this is quite the right sort of place for you to stay."

"I don't want to stay," whispered Milly; "I did n't want to do any of it."

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Oh, please, Milly! when I must leave you so soon. There was nothing else for us to do, my darling. If we had n't been meant for each other would we ever have got where we are? I will not believe you don't care for me-I will make you care!"

"It's no use my talking," said Milly, relenting. "You do just what you want with me. You always did."

"I always intend to—and it shall be just what my darling likes best."

Mrs. Black, it seemed, could keep Milly, by a little hospitable management. Milly made no further objection, and Frank had no scruples in accepting the obligation. It is not unlikely

that he felt he was honoring the parson's dwelling. While the daughter made the necessary changes for the night, a simple entertainment was set forth by the minister's wife for the young couple who were beginning their life together under the roof of strangers, without the blessing of kith or kin.

Little was eaten and little was said, except by the minister, whose words fell in the silence without meaning for those they were intended to encourage and to warn. Frank took his leave as soon as possible, kissing his wife quietly, and commending her, with a look that the minister's wife said was beautiful, to the good woman's care.

She was a woman whose goodness was the most apparent thing about her, except a large forehead and nose that gave a benignant look of authority to her countenance. It was plain that she was mistress of the parsonage, if not of the parson himself. If she had said that he must not marry the young people, he would probably have declined to do so. What she did say, in the brief matrimonial conference in the kitchen before the ceremony was performed, was much to the effect of St. Paul's words on the same question; also, that if "they," meaning her husband, refused to marry them, the young couple could easily find some one else who would.

When Milly had been half an hour alone in the room vacated by the minister's daughter, Mrs. Black went up to her door and knocked. Milly had been sitting on the side of the bed, with her clothes on but in her stocking feet, for her shoes were damp with snow. She had been going back over her poor past, trying to imagine herself opening that foolish, blotted page before the eyes of the delicate, imperative young gentleman who had just bound his fate to hers for better or for worse. And when she looked into the future the prospect was no surer; it was impossible to think of it as their future. She had told the simple truth when she had said that he could do what he pleased with her; but not he nor any other hero of a girl's fancy could have power to do away with certain facts which made this marriage a problem, even to the slow, unimaginative nature that was dumbly struggling with it. When she heard the heavy step on the stairs and the gentle but confident knock, Milly could have given a cry of welcome to this last chance of counsel, if not of escape.

"My dear," said Mrs. Black, coming promptly to her side, " I came up to see if you have bed-covers enough but of course you can't go to sleep yet," she added, glancing at Milly's dress. "There's a little fire in my bedroom, right across the hall. Would you like to come in and sit awhile? Mr. Black he's down

stairs doing some writing. He don't write out his sermons as a general thing, but this is a letter to a newspaper, one of our church papers at home, he 's occasional correspondent for. They like to know what progress we 're making here. It's a wonderful place for awakenings. It seems when we get right amongst all that 's blackest and sinfullest in our poor human nature, we find the most helpfulness, one for another. You'd be surprised the rescuer and comforter my husband's been able to be, and all because the work is ready and waiting for any one who 'll take hold and believe Well, dear, what's your trouble? We've all got something. You don't suppose I can't see it is n't all quite clear before you. How could it be, poor child! But he's a lovely young man and you 're very pretty, my dear. You 've got it all in your own hands."

"It's no use my being pretty," said Milly, despondently. She was sitting in a low chair by the stove in Mrs. Black's bedroom, forgetting to care that her feet, in their soiled stockings, were visible. Mrs. Black was in the big scrollback rocking-chair opposite, rocking and talking, and looking at Milly, not at Milly's stockings, and snipping her darning threads, without the least confusion of impulses.

"No, not if pretty 's all there is of it. But it's a good thing when the young man 's so good-looking. It's best not to have the looks all on his side. Now it ain't because you 're pretty you 're worrying to-night." She examined Milly with her practiced motherly glance. "My dear, you better go lie down this minute. What have you been through to make you look like that!" She got Milly quickly into her bed and felt her over carefully. "Where do you feel sick?"

"I'm not sick," said Milly.

"Well, now, out with it, same as if I were your mother! There 's trouble here somewhere."

Mrs. Black waited, holding the girl's hands in her own, looking at her steadily with mild, strong eyes.

Milly gave a little groan and turned away her face." Mrs." She hesitated.

"Mrs. Black," prompted that lady. "Mrs. Black, I'm a married woman." "Of course you are, my dear," said Mrs. Black, with an encouraging squeeze of Milly's hands. "I was your witness myself, and I'd uphold you in it, for I saw plain enough that young man was bound to have his way."

"I was married and had a child before I ever saw him."

"And does n't he know you're a widow ?" Mrs. Black asked, after a silence.

"I'm not a widow, like any other widow." "Is n't your husband dead?”

"Yes, but he left me, first. I never put on black for him, or saw him; I passed myself off for a girl.”

"What did you say, my dear?"

"I don't know how to tell you what I did. I did n't do anything; it came of itself somehow, and I let it go on."

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"Yes," said Mrs. Black. "It's the easiest way sometimes. I suspect we 're all inclined that way." She waited for Milly's next words.

"He left me, and I had to come after him. Last spring I got here. I had to come. I was n't to my own home. My home's in Canada. He took me away from there and he never found me no other home. My father did n't like him, and we were married secret, and I went away with him when it had to be known. My father he 's slow, but he 's awful stubborn. When I got here I found he'd left me and no word where I was to find him, and then I knew he 'd left me for good. And my baby was born at the Sisters' hospital. It died. And when I got strong enough I went to work at Daniel & Fisher's. I told them I was Mrs. Robinson. They did n't understand me, somehow; I suppose they thought I looked young. They called me Miss Robinson; and all of a sudden that seemed the easiest way. All those girls in the store were lookin' me over, and talkin' about each other, and I knew they 'd talk that way about me. If I'd said I was Mrs., they 'd have wanted to know where was my husband, and I did n't know then he was dead. I was weak and sick and I did n't want to answer questions, and I let it go on. And every day it got harder to get it back."


My dear, that was a terrible risk you took, besides its being so wrong- though you 're punished for that this minute, and I need n't remind you."

"I know it was wrong, Mrs. Black; but I did n't seem to care, if only I could be let alone. And nobody knew but the Sisters, and they're the same as dead to what's outside of their own work. But I did n't care, that's the truth. I did n't think I was going to live long, I felt so sick."

"Oh, my! That's because you never felt that way before. I don't doubt you felt miserable enough, my dear; but it ain't so easy for women to die. We 're dreadful tough."

"Well, I got better, and I thought I'd tell the lady I went to work for after I left the store. I left partly for that, so I could make a fresh start. But I could n't tell her. Don't you know there's folks you can't tell things to and there's some you can? I could have told you."

"Well, I 'm just an ordinary woman," said Mrs. Black, "and I've seen such a sight of trouble. Nothing could ever surprise me."

"I thought perhaps I could tell her, after

a while, when I got used to her; but when I came to hear her talking I knew I'd never tell her. She'd have had it all over the house; and when she told things they somehow sounded different to what they were. She could make things sound any way she liked. Ann, the cook she had, found out I 'd had a child. The Sisters told her, and then I told her the rest. But I did n't mind Ann. I knew she 'd never tell on me. And after she knew, she was awful good to me."

"When was it your husband died ?" "It was June when I heard from his partner that he'd been found. His horse slipped off the trail and fell on him.”

"And you did mourn for him some, I know!" "I had my own troubles," said Milly, after a pause. "It was he brought them on me, and he never took none of 'em on himself. He took me away from a good home and he never give me another."

"Well, you have got trouble now, that's a fact. But the first thing you 've got to do is to straighten this all out with your husband. You ain't much acquainted, are you? How did you come to meet with him?"

"He boarded in the house where I was working."

“Well, surely that shows he ain't got prejudices. And if he loved you before he knew you had troubles, he won't love you a bit the less now."

"He knew I had troubles, but not- that kind. I know—I tried to tell him. I did try, Mrs. Black!"

“Ah, I'm afraid you put it off too long, my dear. If you'd only come to me before the ceremony and told me, I could have made him understand. You'd have known then how much he thought of you; but it ain't for me to remind you. And now you 're afraid to out with it—ain't that so? Well, I guess he 's human, same's the rest of us. I can see what he is-headstrong and proud and full of his fine notions, and wants to be loved, like any other man, but dreadful particular who he loves. I don't say it's the safest sort of marriage; but it's made and done with now, and you 've got your pretty face, and if he ain't sorry for you when you tell him what you 've been through

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"He'd be sorry, but — oh, you don't know him!"

"I know we are prone to error, every one of us, as the sparks fly upward. I guess if you were to go back into the history of that young man, you 'd find he's done things he 's wished he had n't done. But it all depends on how much you care for each other. Do you love him, my dear?"

"I don't know," said Milly. "I ain't like

myself when I'm with him. He thinks I 'm different to what I am, and that makes me different."

"Of course-I see how it is. But it's no use worrying about the future. You know what you've got to do now. You've got to tell him first thing to-morrow morning, and no bones about it! Don't you let him take you in his arms as his wedded wife without your soul is clear before him. If you do, you'll both repent it to the longest day you live."

"I can't ever be his wife, Mrs. Black. That's never going to be. Something will happen to stop it, I know."

"Don't you go to trusting to any such feelings as those. You've trusted and let things go on too much already, my dear; and that's your way, I see. What you need is more confidence. Now don't go to despairing of your marriage. It's begun badly, but that ain't all your fault. I can see what chance you had with a young fellow like him. He 's got a good deal too much confidence. But don't you let his confidence be the ruin of you both, and when it comes to marriages - why, there's all sorts, and it's amazing how comfortable they turn out, spite of everything. There's always marriages just as risky as yours is, when a new country is being settled up—young men and women meeting together, with all sorts of families back of them, so pleased with all the new ways of seeing one another, and nothing plain and natural to show 'em their inside differences. Why, it's the greatest wonder in the world they ever make out as they do, the most of 'em. If you were to go back in his own family, I guess you'd find the mates were n't all matches. It gets evened up somehow, when they come to live together. There's a blessing, I tell you, on the relation."

Mrs. Black had indulged a strain of extreme leniency and hopefulness, to give Milly courage for her duty. What she said to her husband, before they slept, was nearer her true judgment of the case.

"I wish we had n't been the means of it, Samuel. It was mainly my doings, and I'm punished for thinking they were past reasoning with, both of 'em. I don't know as I ever saw two misguided young creatures in such a fix. I tried to encourage her all I could, but she's made a miserable piece of work of it so far; and I'm sorry for him, when he comes to write that letter home."

"And when I saw those two young people in the street," said Mr. Black," he was the one I took to be the deceiver."

"He's the kind of deceiver that deceives nobody but himself—and I don't know but that's as bad as any kind."

"Not in the eyes of the Lord, Martha."

"The Lord can forgive more sins than they two'll ever commit," said Martha Black, who had a tenderness for the heart that had unburdened itself to her sympathy, and who knew that Milly's troubles had but just begun.

Frank's letter to his mother was to have been written before he went to fetch his wife. He rose early for the purpose after one of those nights of wakefulness we remember for years afterwards as a distinct experience. In his watchings he had composed a number of letters, but when it came to writing them out he got no farther than "Dear Mother." It was to the mother, who takes the brunt of unpleasant family news, he addressed himself. When he had got as far as this he could see his mother's face, he could hear her voice asking his father to step into the library a moment. He could see both their faces as they sat down and looked at each other with the letter between them. On the whole he concluded to wait until after the ball. He could then tell them of his wife's first appearance in the society of the town, and of her reception. He had no doubts on this score. It is the men, he theorized, who decide a girl's fate at a ball.

He had changed his small second-story room at the Clarendon for a large one on the first hall, opposite the ladies' parlor. When the arrangement had been concluded at the desk, the clerk remarked that the bridal chamber was coming it rather strong for a single man. Frank flushed, but gave the information with dignity that he had been married the evening before at the Rev. Mr. Black's, where his wife was now staying.

The clerk smiled the smile of the foolish, and inquired if the lady was any connection of Mr. Black's; and Frank was obliged to relinquish this straw of respectability which he had grasped at for the sake of Milly's antecedents.

Milly had lamented to Mrs. Black, as the chief of her excuses, that she had never had a chance to speak with Frank without fear of interruption, except in the open streets. But now they were alone for a lifetime, in the bridal chamber of the Clarendon, with window-blinds closed to shut out the staring daylight, with no idea between them of the time, or of how the

world was going outside. The world for them had centered in this their first day together. Frank had bought a belated wedding-ring and was trying it on the finger of his bride. "You have worn a ring on this finger before," he said, feeling the little depression that encircled Milly's third finger. "What sort of a ring was it? I like to know all about you, how you looked and what you used to wear, before I ever saw you."

This was Milly's opportunity, as if offered her by Heaven. But it had come too suddenly, almost threateningly; she shrunk from it, and the next moment it was gone.

Something within her, perhaps the habit of concealment, confirmed through months of perilous practice, seemed to answer for her, while her stunned conscience listened amazed. "It was n't a ring I cared for; I took it off, because it was too small for me."

After that the day passed hopelessly for her. She was under the spell of her failure, and of Frank's awful unconsciousness.

More and more she felt his standards oppress her-fine and intense and vindictively pure. The nameless little refinements of his manner were her despair; she could not meet them out of any social practice in the past, nor with the simplicity of innocence and faith. She longed to escape, back into the miserable muddle of her old life where she had felt at home-anywhere away from this horrible masquerading.

As for Frank, he was the husband now. He was studying his new possession, in the light of old, persistent standards-those standards which Milly instinctively feared. He studied her because he could not get near enough to her to lose himself in her attraction for him. Something clouded the attraction; something undefinable between them that embarrassed him, and balked him of all the allusions, the fond recapitulations, the exchange of ideals and purposes, which should have glorified the day.

She has all that the first woman had,youth, beauty, purity, and helplessness,Frank thought, while she dressed for the ball and he gazed at her shyly with beating heart. She is a girl without a family and without a history. Her husband shall give her both.

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ODGED like a knot of seagulls, on the southern slopes of the Maeldown hills, within walking distance of the Duke of Devonshire's great castle at Lismore, nestle the white buildings of a monastery for Cistercians called Mount Melleray. It is a recent creation, a mere thing of yesterday compared with places in every county of Ireland where a round tower, or a single lovely lancet window, or a squat oratory with walls many feet thick, surviving from the earliest Christian ages, tells the story of persecution, or of civil war, or of the rarer instances of neglect following changes in population or in fashion.

The brethren in their handsome yet coarsely woven robes the color of old ivory, the associate monks all of a dull brown, have somehow the air of an anachronism. They are far from anything one can by stretch of imagination. call a thriving town. They live in peace on their communal farm as Trappists


among whom the rule of silence is not pushed to unwise lengths, and touch the world only by the stream of pious and of merely curious clergy and laity who are their guests without becoming their acquaintances. They belong to one of the most sensible and indeed enlightened orders, which prescribes manual labor in the fields and gives careful attention to the dangers of the mind that beset celibates on whom silence is enjoined. They are revered by the countryside and admired for their innocent, steadfast lives by Protestants not infected with the bigotry of the North.

In the little chapel for visitors, into which the chanting of the monks penetrates from the greater church beyond, a sermon is pronounced every now and then in Gaelic for the benefit of sturdy old people of the hills who have never learned English properly and are not anxious to perfect themselves therein. Nothing can be more reposeful than the lawn before the monastery and the high-walled garden near by, where Catholic clergymen and laymen, who are making "a retreat" on these uplands, walk solitary or in discreet twos, guests of the monks. The little colony of dead in the quadrangle discourages ambitious thoughts, so plain and unpretending are the headstones. The great barns, the bake-house where a delicious coarse bread is stacked in sweet-smelling piles, the blacksmith's shop where a brawny brother swings the hammer and will not be so discourteous as to refuse an answer to a curious questioner, the school buildings just without the circle of the monastery proper- give one a




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