The Lake eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 278 pages of information about The Lake.
I am an old man; Miss Glynn tells me that you are a young man.  I can therefore speak quite frankly.  I believe the practice to which I have alluded is inhuman and unchristian, and has brought about the ruin of many an Irish girl.  I have been able to rescue some from the streets, and, touched by their stories, I have written frequently to the priest of the parish pointing out to him that his responsibility is not merely local, and does not end as soon as the woman has passed the boundary of his parish.  I would ask you what you think your feelings would be if I were writing to you now to tell you that, after some months of degraded life, Miss Glynn had thrown herself from one of the bridges into the river?  That might very well have been the story I had to write to you; fortunately for you, it is another story.

’Miss Glynn is a woman of strong character, and does not give way easily; her strength of will has enabled her to succeed where another woman might have failed.  She is now living with one of my parishioners, a Mrs. Dent, of 24, Harold Street, who has taken a great liking to her, and helped her through her most trying time, when she had very little money and was alone and friendless in London.  Mrs. Dent recommended her to some people in the country who would look after her child.  She allowed her to pay her rent by giving lessons to her daughter on the piano.  One thing led to another; the lady who lived on the drawing-room floor took lessons, and Miss Glynn is earning now, on an average, thirty shillings per week, which little income will be increased if I can appoint her to the post of organist in my church, my organist having been obliged to leave me on account of her health.  It was while talking to Mrs. Dent on this very subject that I first heard Miss Glynn’s name mentioned.

’Mrs. Dent was enthusiastic about her, but I could see that she knew little about her lodger’s antecedents, except that she came from Ireland.  She was anxious that I should engage her at once, declaring that I could find no one like her, and she asked me to see her that evening.  I went, and the young woman impressed me very favourably.  She came to my church and played for me.  I could see that she was an excellent musician, and there seemed to be no reason why I should not engage her.  I should probably have done so without asking any further questions—­for I do not care to inquire too closely into a woman’s past, once I am satisfied that she wishes to lead an honourable life—­but Miss Glynn volunteered to tell me what her past had been, saying it was better I should hear it from her than from another.  When she had told me her sad story, I reminded her of the anxiety that her disappearance from the parish would cause you.  She shook her head, saying you did not care what might happen to her.  I assured her that such a thing was not the case, and begged of her to allow me to write to you; but I did not obtain her consent until she began to see that if she withheld it any longer we might think she was concealing some important fact.  Moreover, I impressed upon her that it was right that I should hear your story, not because I disbelieved hers—­I take it for granted the facts are correctly stated—­but in the event of your being able to say something which would put a different complexion upon them.

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The Lake from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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