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other member of my parish of two, who had suffered much as had she? So after our good morning, I told her to get her work, for I was about to tell her a fable that might interest her, and perhaps help her to understand herself. I told her then about you.
How you had made such pitiable mistakes, sinned indeed, in my estimation, and were even now suffering, discontented and embittered. “And yet," I said, “I cannot believe any real wrong of that man. I cannot cast him off, judge him harshly, break away from our long friendship, and bid him good-bye, as one not worthy of my regard or sympathy. I know him too well not to believe that he will recover, that he will pull himself together, and, scarred and maimed in his affections, if you will, still live to be the stronger for this very experience." I became so interested that I read her passages of your letters to me. I tried to show her how bewildered and unstrung you had become, and how this bewilderment had led on and on, almost to desperation. At last I read her one of your love-letters, and pointed out to her how much worse was your case than hers. In the midst of this reading, she got up and walked up and down the room, and then begged me to stop, that she did not wish to hear more, that she was satisfied, that she felt that she had perhaps unduly magnified her fault. “I am happy enough if you do not think contemptuously of me,
if willing that I should stay here, if you
will let my soiled love love you, if good to me,” she burst out, and she knelt down, and put her head on my knees, and held my hands and murmured to herself. Let her stay, love her, be good to her!
you will be Who would not? Certainly I would. I thanked her, and blessed her, and clung to her, and begged her just to sit there, where I could touch her, and know that I was not to awake and find her not there, and find that she had never been there, that it was all a dream.
They must have had a sermon that was exemplarily short that day, for we were still sitting there together when there was a knock, and in came Bob and Katharine. Bob looked amazed, but Katharine seemed to say: “ Just what I expected.” I turned to them and said:
“I have persuaded this lady to stay, if you will bid her welcome.”
“ What!” shouted Bob, "you aren't going at all? you're going to join the family? Well, you are a brick! And you, you beggar, you jolly well deserve to be thrashed for deceiving me. You know," he said, speaking to Mrs. Billings, “ that perfidious brute let me make him a long harangue the other day about treating you gently, and he never said boo, and then probably roared with laughter when I had left the room. So you're not going away; well, that is jolly,” he continued.
“Oh, yes, I am going away, but, if you will all let me, I am coming back.”
“Yes, and coming back next time not to go away again,” I said, and she took my hand and said, “Yes, not to go away again.” There was tremendous rejoicing amongst the children, and after luncheon they all, Bob as childish as the youngest of them, went off to the stables to pick out a horse, a horse that should be her ownest own, for the new auntie."
So you see, my dear old Douglas, what a boon your letters have been to me. You see how good may come out of evil, how Nazareth gives light and love to the world. Through these weary, weary months your letters have been my pleasure and my excitement. Not only was it my friend, but I was, through him, being let into the world, taking part again in its turmoil and strife, and now at the last this life of yours has turned out to be the very key to unlock a new life for me. This is a long, long letter I find on looking it over. But it is a real page of the life of your poor friend, and I knew how delighted you of all men would be to hear of my happiness. And, bless you, dear boy, you have done it. I could see how the effect of your experience, as I told it to her, influenced her. I saw the change in her, as I read her that eloquent letter of yours. She was moved by it