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to my imperfect remarks,” stam- “The Bishop told me that he mered the curate—“ not,” added highly disapproved of unmarried he, with more dignity,“ that it is clergymen--that is, incumbents, anything but a duty to attend to
you understand, and that he the utterances of the pulpit—that thought the only justification of a I have endeavoured often to im- clergyman's remaining unmarried press on my flock the virtue of after thirty was extreme poverty.”. celibacy.”
"I quite agree with the Bishop," “ I think I have heard a sermon said Philippa, rather wearily. or two on the subject.”
“I have not yet attained that “Celibacy for all Christians, in- limit," said the curate, “ by about deed,” said Mr. Reredos, “but twenty-three months. But his especially for the clergy. I think lordship's advice caused much perit due to myself to say that I turbation in my mind, which you have somewhat reconsidered these may naturally connect with the views.”
remarks with which I ventured to “Have you ?”
open the present conversation." “Yes—I have. I trust,” said the Philippa had a woman's instinct curate, “I devoutly trust”—and that something was coming from his large hands wavered feebly, as Mr. Reredos which she did not wish if they sought to grasp some sup- to hear. But she did not quite see port—" that I have not been influ- how to avoid it. Besides, she enced by any, unfit or unworthy thought, better let him go on; then motive in arriving at or in con- I can silence him. So she still ducting the reconsideration."
stood by the table, only she had “ I should think not.”
taken refuge in the destruction of “I have felt that I might have a flower with very numerous petals, given undue weight to one which she hoped would last till the sideration. My uncle, Sir Blaise end of the homily. Reredos, has long been anxious “ Under which views," said the that I—that I-should-in fact, curate, “and in the sincere trust should engage myself in matri- that in obeying the recommendamony,'
said Mr. Reredos. “ The tion of my bishop, submitting my Admiral has no children, and he own judgment to his, I am not led has a regard—I trust it is not alto- away by the deceitfulness of my gether a sinful regard—for the own heart, I have taken the liberty family name. And with a view, I -to”—and there came a pause apprehend, to the—to the—that is, through which the beating of his wishing the family name to be per
heart might have been audible, “to petuated,” said the curate," he ask you to share my lot, Philippa, has long since offered to settle six if I may call hundred a year on me on the day Surely, Mr. Reredos," said on which I should undergo the Philippa, suddenly becoming of a sacrament.”
carnation hue down to her finger “ Very generous," said Philippa, nails, “ you must have heard of my at a loss what else to say.
marriage.” “I have long felt this to be a “Even that need be no obstacle,” temptation of the Evil One," said said the curate; “ the Levitical Mr. Reredos. “ I have feared that priests were forbidden to take any it would be a kind of simony. At wife but a virgin or a widow that last I laid the case before my had a priest before ; but this has Bishop.”
never been a rule of the Anglican “ Well ?”
“My husband is alive, Mr. took upon the footpath a very neat Reredos,” said Philippa, turning female form, clad in a sort of large very pale.
pelisse finished with hood, The look of surprise-of stupe- wearing a demure straw hat, and faction-of horror that came over bearing a market basket on her the poor man's countenance was Mr. Reredos, diverging into dramatic in the most tragic sense.
the road, left the path as he He gasped for breath. He put passed rapidly by the figure. forth his hands as if striving to “Is that you, Mr. Reredos ?” thrust something from him. Then said a soft and not unmusical he clasped or rather wrung them voice; “indeed, you look quite together.
beaten with fatigue.” “ May God forgive you! Madam, “In truth, I am not altogether you have led me into mortal sin !" myself, Miss Millicent; I have had
“ Explain yourself, sir," said much to afflict me," replied the Philippa, now in her turn becoming curate. the assailant.
dined?" “ To covet my neighbour's wife," No, I have not dined.” muttered the curate. “Oh! God “When did you lunch ?” forgive me — and
“Truly, Miss Millicent," said the too !"
curate, reflecting, “I cannot re“Excuse me, sir!" said Philippa; member that I have partaken of “I must put an end to this conver
any luncheon." sation; but I cannot do so without “ Dear Mr. Reredos, it is not remarking on the extreme impro- kind, it is not fair, to those of us priety of your language. What to whom your pastoral care is so right have you to speak of forgive needful to leave your own vineyard ness for me? How could I have so cruelly untended," said Miss observed - have imagined -- what Millicent. you were thinking of. Did I owe “That may well be," replied the any account to you? Was it for curate; “I know not how it is, but me to come to your church and
you appear to have the gift of often say, 'Avoid me!
I have had an putting things to me more clearly unhappy marriage?' For shame, than results from the operations of sir !"
my own mind.” Madam," said the curate; “I Miss Millicent's eye glittered. am so overborne that I know not
are always thinking of what I say. I pray you to forgive others,” said she, “ never of yourme. I will no more offend. God's self. Therefore, unless someangels have you in their charge someone cares for you, you are in as they well may tend one so like danger of-Holy angels !”—said themselves," muttered the curate; Miss Millicent—" of going out like and he left the room in indescrib- a candle on the altar when the able confusion.
window is left open!”
“It may even be so,” said the CHAPTER XXXII.
curate. “God knows I have need
of human counsel, and of human A DIFFICULTY SOLVED.
sympathy too." With faltering and uncertain steps Miss Millicent walked for some Mr. Reredos left the shady garden distance in perfect silence." Don't of the Lodge, and was hasting, or you know where to find them? rather blundering, on his way said she at last, almost in a towards St. John's, when he over- whisper.
The curate's only reply was a
and flesh with which Elijah was deep sigh.
wonderfully nurtured were brought But what I thinking in a basket by the ravens, or how about ? ” continued she, briskly. Otherwise. Indeed,” he added, “ Mr. Reredos, you make me as musingly, “your aid is almost to negligent—as unpardonably, as me like theirs." sinfully negligent, as yourself.
“Like a raven ?” said Millicent, You are actually fasting-dying of turning away with a very percepfamine. What a Providence it was that led me to take Susan's basket. Nay,” said the curate, “surely It was provided for one of her pen- that was the thought the farthest sioners, but it must have a higher from my mind. How could I destination," and Miss Millicent
paragon you, my dear Miss Milli. drew out a packet of sandwiches. cent, to a bird of ill-omen, or—if I “If you would only rest while you mistake not-even of
prey." eat, here, on this knotted root, and “Yet you treat me like one," said I will wait on you like-as the holy Millicent, beginning to cry, "if you women of old did in the bright go wandering about the country days of the Church," said Millicent, half dead with fatigue, and then with a Magdalen-like glance at the tell me you are in great affliction, sky.
and then no more let me nourish, or Miss Millicent's eyes were not -or-be of any use to you than if naturally fine. But she knew how I was a raven—a great black ugly to work them, so to speak, to their raven-I wish I was !” best advantage, and she did so Now, there was one thing which
Mr. Reredos regarded with fear“I will even do as you say,” re- fear is not the word-absolute plied the curate. My feet seem
terror: it was to see a woman cry. as though they rather belonged to His alarm in this respect had been some other person than to myself, betrayed to his female parishioners and my head also.” (The poor by the slighter expression of the man perhaps included his heart in same passion which the remonhis survey.) “Indeed, Miss Milli.
strances of an infant at the font, cent, I have often resolved to give when at times an unlucky babe more attention to the wants of the lifted up his voice, were known Its powers are other- invariably to produce.
“I can wise liable to fail us at our utmost never get through the lesson, Spon. need.”
son,” he said to the clerk, “if they Millicent's curiosity now became permit the infants to wail ; surely, almost unrestrainable. But she those must be like the false mother
a stronger feeling than in the judgment of Solomon, who curiosity-a will, at all events, a are unable to bring their babes to wish, to triumph. “I will not ask the threshold of the sanctuary with. a single question,” said she to her- out some comfort that should at self, “ and he will be driven to tell least still their cries for so short a me what is the matter.”
time." is the little beverage prepared by “Miss Millicent,” he said, “Miss Susan,” said she—“poor, but better Millicent !” than nothing."
Her tears flowed the faster. Mr. Reredos slowly partook of “Oh dear!” said he, half aloud. the refreshment. Truly,” said She began to sob. he, “Miss Millicent, I have oft- "Nay, but hear me one word,” times wondered whether the bread said he.
“I don't want to hear-I've seemed to be audibly whispered in heard too much already,” sobbed
his ear. she. “Oh, dear! to be called a “Miss Millicent,” said he, “ if bird of ill-omen and a bird of you think so, the only atoneprey, and by him, too!” and her ment little figure shook convulsively. “Well," said she, leaving off
" As Heaven looks down upon crying, and looking him full in the us both, such an idea was the face. farthest from my thoughts," said “ The only atonement a gentlehe. “Why, Millicent ?"
man can offer is“ What was farthest from your He looked at his hand. thoughts?"
Her breath came very thick. “ To think of you as a raven." "It is but an ungainly one,"
“What do you think of me as, said he ; “ but it has never wittingly then?”
injured man or offended God. Will The curate was taken by sur
you take it ?" prise. “ What ?” said he. “I Oh, Lucius,” cried she, “how thought such-I thought
thought no. could you so long torment your thing."
own, own Millicent ? ” and the Now this was worse than before. hands lay one in another-hers The case seemed hopeless. The bidden, and, as it were, bound, in sobs returned.
his long fingers. “I knew you thought nothing," “Now, Lucius, let me go. You she said; “I always knew it. I must; I must tell mamma of my always said so when they teased happiness”—and a little sob. me. "No,' said I, he has no more “I have something more to say,” thought for any human being than said Mr. Reredos, “ before those he has for the painted angels in words pass between us which are the windows-not half so much !'” irrevocable." “Nay, there
you wrong me “ Before?” said she, with a tencruelly," said the curate.
dency to the return of the "I can't bear it,” said Miss hysterics. Millicent; “I can bear anything “ Listen," said Mr. Reredosbut to lose-lose-lose esteem I and the whole man seemed transhave once felt. I've made up my
formed as he spoke-his head rose m-m-mind—I'll go out as a gover- proudly—there came a fire in his ness, and join the B-B-Baptists." eyes-he looked a man of whom
" You speak as if I had behaved any woman might be proud. unbecomingly to you, Miss Milli- “ Listen, Millicent, and do not cent,"
interrupt. I will listen to you “And haven't you ?” said she; afterwards." " haven't you? Look in my face Millicent looked in wonder ; and answer me that Oh, dear!” what had a few minutes before she broke out again, “it's not so been stratagem-flirtation-what much for myself I feel it, as that you like — was now something a clergyman should so forget him- more noble and holy; the man's self !”
earnestness communicated itself to A certain very practical text of her. St. Paul, as to a man not behaving “Millicent Penrose,” said Mr. himself unbecomingly towards a Reredos, " this matter is not of maiden, here occurred to Mr. my seeking, nor do I think it is Reredos with so much patness altogether of my doing. God that, as he afterwards said, it knows that I left home with far
other ideas this morning. But I the loss of my-of my fancy, that believe that it is the guidance of made me feel more like a man in his Providence."
despair than I ever did beforeAnd Mr. Reredos took off his than I hope I ever can again." hat, bowed his head, and his lips “When I saw you,” he continued, moved in silence.
“I thought that there was the “I believe, I do believe, that prospect of a great deliverance for even as He fed the prophet of After I had once spoken to a old, so has he given, unawares to woman as to love, I knew that there me, a light to my path. I am was no more celibacy to be thought bounden to you; I do not wish to of. But I hesitated. I did hesitate be unbound. But you are free till to turn away from one fair face, and you
hear what I have to say. It to take a rejected suit to another. is now some little time since I began I felt unworthy to do so. But I to doubt the wisdom of the celibate did think that it might be that God for the clergy.”
willed, in His mercy, to show that Millicent looked a little uneasy. my sin had been pardoned. And,
“ Perhaps that which was in- Millicent, if it be so, you need not tended for my meat was turned be afraid. I know—at least I think, by my own blindness into poison. that, if she were free, she is all that I will not do you the injustice to a man might reverence; but is one believe that it can have any weight to love a bright fire
on one's with you, Millicent, but my wife hearth the less because one admires will not be a poor man's wife. I the pure ray of a star reflected could at any moment have secured from a well? I think not. Milli. competence by marriage ; and cent, if, after this true and honest unless an old man, now upwards statement, you can consent to be my of seventy, should marry and wife, I take God to witness that I should have children, and if I will be a true, loving, and tender survive him, my wife will be the husband. I ask you once more. wife of a baronet."
Please ?" Millicent now in her turn became “Mr. Reredos," said Millicent, deadly pale. She withdrew her rising, and drawing her pelisse hand gently, but she withdrew it. round her with an air of dignity,
“ When I left home this morn- "you must hear me in turn." ing," continued the curate, “I did The lover rose as she spoke. His so with the idea of asking some foot coming in contact with his hat one to marry me, Millicent. I was that lay on the ground, he-not not then thinking of you."
with a kick, but a sort of lift of the Millicent remained silent, pale, foot-sent the hat to several yards and motionless.
distance. Then he stood very up“ It was a woman, Millicent, of right, and gazed at her very whom I had seen but very little, earnestly. and whom I thought that I “I, too, have my confession to admired very much. I think so make. It is I-indeed it is-who still," added he.
am unworthy of you. I never felt it Millicent gave a little uncon- before. I saw you going-I need scious shudder.
not say where I thought you were “But I found, to my horror,” going--and I came on in the hope said the curate, “that she was the of meeting you ; I did indeed," and wife of another man. Millicent, it here she became like a peony.“ If was more the feeling of the sin I I had known what you have just had unwittingly committed than told me about money and—and