“Listen, my son; let me talk a moment without interruption. You are not now responsible for consequences. You owe this debt and it must be paid. It is just as much a part of the debt you owe—yes, just as much as the money that you returned. You cannot repudiate it and retain your self-respect. No man can respect himself any more than he can respect another who is able and yet refuses to pay a just debt. Now, you have paid your debt to the bank, and they have forgiven you. You have confessed your fault to me, and I gladly pardon you, and this confession and repentance enhances my love for you. Now, think you that your father and mother will do less? You are both unjust and unkind to him whom I have known and loved from my earliest manhood; and I must, also, add, that if you still refuse to pay this part of your debt, my confidence in your repentance will be lessened.”
“Bishop,” said the youth, slowly, as if weighing well his words, “I see it all now. But how can I do this? Can you not, will you not, write to my father?”
“No, Carl,” was the reply, “you must, in response to your honest heart, do this yourself, nor must it be done through a letter.”
Carl was thoughtful for a few moments. Then he arose. “Bishop,” said he, “I will follow your advice. I will leave at once for England.”
“This, my boy,” said the bishop, also rising, “is what you must do. I was sure you would see it in this light. It is the only course.”
At midnight Carl caught the New York boat, landing in that city in time for early breakfast.
Carl could not pass through the city without calling upon his kind friend Marmion. The Doctor was delighted to see him, and especially when he learned the young man’s errand—that he was on his way to pay the last installment of his debt.
He prevailed upon Carl to stay with him until the following Saturday, and then accompanied him to the steamer Europa, on which Carl sailed for Liverpool.
THE PRODIGAL’S RETURN
The Right Reverend Leonidas McLaren, Bishop of Durham, paced his room with nervous tread that was uncommon with him. He was thinking, and every few moments he turned to look at his wife, who had been engaged with a piece of embroidery upon her lap. The day was closing, and a soft melody from the piano, at which the young daughter sat, was the only sound which broke the stillness of the twilight hour. Frequently at this hour the little family found themselves indulging in thoughts of the sad experience which had come to them. More than a year and a half had passed since had been enacted the tragedy which brought to them their great trouble, and yet resignation had hardly been perfected—a sad lingering hope still clung to them even in the midst of their apparent despair.
“Tomorrow would have been his anniversary day,” murmured the mother, sadly, “who knows, but that, after all, he may come back.”