“I’m sorry he hurt Christ,” said Prue sorrowfully.
“He was sorry, too.”
“Is that all?”
“Yes, he died, and we hope he is in Heaven tonight, praising God for saving sinners.”
“I don’t think that is such a sad story. It would be sad if God never did forgive him. It was bad to be in prison, but he got out and wasn’t wicked any more. Did you ever see him, Aunt Prue?”
“Yes, dear, many times.”
“Did you love him?”
“I loved him better than I loved anybody, and Uncle John loved him.”
“Was he ever in this room?”
“Yes. He has been many times in this chair in which you and I are sitting; he used to love to hear me play on that piano; and we used to walk in the garden together, and he called me ‘Prue’ and not Aunt Prue, as you do.”
“Aunt Prue!” the child’s voice was frightened. “I know who your story is about.”
“Your dear papa!”
“Yes, my dear papa!”
“And aren’t you glad he is safe through it all, and God his forgiven him?”
“Yes, I’m glad; but I’m sorry he was in that prison.”
“He was happy with you, afterward, you know. He had your mamma and she loved him, and then he had you and you loved him.”
“But I’m sorry.”
“So am I, darling, and so is Uncle John; we are all sorry, but we are glad now because it is all over and he cannot sin any more or suffer any more. I wanted to tell you while you were little, so that somebody would not tell you when you grow up. When you think about him, thank God that he forgave him,—that is the happy part of it.”
“Why didn’t papa tell me?”
“He knew I would tell you some day, if you had to know. I would rather tell you than have any one else in the world tell you.”
“I won’t tell anybody, ever. I don’t want people to know my papa was in a prison. I asked him once what a prison was like and he would not tell me much.”
She kept her head on Miss Prudence’s shoulder and rubbed her fingers over Miss Prudence’s hand.
There were no tears in her eyes, Miss Prudence’s quiet, hopeful voice had kept the tears from coming. Some day she would understand it, but to-night it was a story that was not very sad, because he had got out of the prison and God had forgiven him. It would never come as a shock to her; Miss Prudence had saved her that.
“Oh, for a mind more clear to see,
A hand to work more earnestly,
For every good intent.”—Phebe Cary.
“Aunt Prue,” began Marjorie, “I can’t help thinking about beauty.”
“I don’t see why you should, child, when there are so many beautiful things for you to think about.”