Then the father spoke with trembling voice: “My son was dead and is alive again,” he said. “He was lost and is found. Pardoned? Yes, joyously pardoned! Forgiven by heaven, forgiven on earth. My heart gratefully pardons all your errors toward me and mine. And now, my son, consecrate yourself this day to God’s service, and may your future life be so loyal and noble that he who has been so loving and forbearing to us all and restored you to his favor, may at last crown you with ’Well done, good and faithful servant.’”
It was past midnight before they became aware of it. Joseph came in to escort Mr. Edward, as he familiarly called him, to his room, but the young man excused himself, since he had engaged a room at the hotel and his baggage was there; but tomorrow he would come to them.
He returned to his lodging, where he slept as he had not slept during one and a half years.
The next day was a great occasion at the episcopal residence. The early morning service conveyed the strange, but glad, news to all who were present that the good bishop’s long absent son had returned, and they in turn transmitted it to their friends. He was supposed to have been drowned more than a year ago, and this day was the twentieth anniversary of his birth. The house was filled with callers from early morning until late at night. And thus it was for many days.
If anyone associated the reported drowning with the event of the bank robbery, they never so expressed themselves, nor was his whereabouts during his absence discussed in other than a friendly way. Nevertheless, the returned wanderer was not wholly at ease. He suspected that the kindly and refined nature of these friends silenced many questions which doubtless were in their minds, and often a lull in the conversation filled him with fear and dread of an inadvertent inquiry.
THE NEW LIFE
The chief regret now in this young man’s mind was the loss of two college years. Bishop Albertson greatly desired his return to the Monastery to take up and finish his collegiate course, and receive his diploma from that institution. But the father seriously objected, because this would necessitate his absence again from home. After much discussion and correspondence, the two bishops concluded to leave its decision to the young man himself. As soon as Eleen learned this her woman’s sagacity told her what the decision would be. She had her brother’s confidence, young as she was, and he had shown her Alice’s photograph. She was correct in her conclusions. It was not many days before he made known his determination to return to the Monastery and finish his studies. This would only take two years.