“Linnet has counted on it so,” sighed her mother.
“Mother!” rising to her feet and standing by the bedside. “I will go. Linnet shall not be disappointed.”
“That’s a good child! Now hurry down, and I’ll hurry you off,” said her mother, in her usual brisk tone.
An hour and a half later Mrs. West kissed Marjorie’s pale lips, and bade her stay a good while and have a good time. And before she washed up the breakfast dishes she put on a clean apron, burnished her glasses, and sat down to write to Hollis. The letter was as plain as her talk had been. He had understood then, he should understand now. But with Marjorie would be the difficulty; could he manage her?
THE COSEY CORNER.
“God takes men’s hearty desires and will instead of the deed where they have not the power to fulfill it; but he never took the bare deed instead of the will.”—Richard Baxter.
Prue opened the door, and sprang into Marjorie’s arms in her old, affectionate way; and Marjorie almost forgot that she was not in Maple Street, when she was led into the front parlor; there was as much of the Maple Street parlor in it as could be well arranged. Hollis was there on the hearth rug, waiting modestly in the background for his greeting; he had not been a part of Maple Street. The greeting he waited for was tardy in coming, and was shy and constrained, and it seemed impossible to have a word with her alone all the evening: she was at the piano, or chatting in the kitchen with old Deborah, or laughing with Prue, or asking questions of Linnet, and when, at last, Mr. Holmes took her upstairs to show her his study, he said good night abruptly and went away.
Marjorie chided herself for her naughty pride and passed another sleepless night; in the morning she looked so ill that the plans for the day were postponed, and she was taken into Mrs. Holmes own chamber to be petted and nursed to sleep. She awoke in the dusk to find Aunt Prue’s dear face beside her.
“Aunt Prue,” she said, stretching up her hands to encircle her neck, “I don’t know what to do.”
“I do. Tell me.”
“Perhaps I oughtn’t to. It’s mother’s secret.”
“Suppose I know all about it.”
“You can’t! How can you?”
“Lie still,” pushing her back gently among the pillows, “and let me tell you.”
“I thought I was to tell you.”
“A while ago the postman brought me a note from your mother. She told me that she had confessed to you something she told me last summer.”
“Oh,” exclaimed Marjorie, covering her face with both hands, “isn’t it too dreadful!”
“I think your mother saw clearly that she had taken your life into her own hands without waiting to let God work for you and in you. I assured her that I knew all about that dark time of yours, and she wept some very sorrowful tears to think how heartbroken you would be if you knew. Perhaps she thought you ought to know it; she is not one to spare herself; she is even harder upon herself than upon other sinners.”