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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 206 pages of information about Darrel of the Blessed Isles.
of Hillsborough.  Midway was a little white building, its eaves within reach of one’s hand, its gable on the line of the sidewalk overhanging which, from a crane above the door, was a big, golden spool.  In its two windows were lace and ribbons and ladies’ hats and spools of thread, and blue shades drawn high from seven o’clock in the morning until dark.  It was the little shop of Ruth Tole—­a house of Fate on the way from happening to history.  There secrets, travel-worn, were nourished a while and sent on their way; reputations were made over and often trimmed with excellent taste and discrimination.  The wicked might prosper for a time, but by and by the fates were at work on them, there in the little shop, and then every one smiled as the sinner passed, with the decoration of his rank upon him.  And the sinner smiled also, seeing not the badge on his own back but only that on the back of his brother, and was highly pleased, for, if he had sin deeper than his brother’s he had some discretion.  Relentless and not over-just were they of this weird sisterhood.  Since the time of the gods they have been without honour but never without work, and often they have had a better purpose than they knew.  Those of Hillsborough did their work as if with a sense of its great solemnity.  There was a flavour of awe in their nods and whispers, and they seemed to know they were touching immortal souls.  But now and then they put on the masque of comedy.

Ruth Tole was behind the counter, sorting threads.  She was a maiden of middle life and severe countenance, of few and decisive words.  The door of the little shop was ajar, and near it a woman sat knitting.  She had a position favourable for eye and ear.  She could see all who passed, on either side of the way, and not a word or move in the shop escaped her.  In the sisterhood she bore the familiar name of Lize.  She had been talking about that old case of Riley Brooke and the Widow Glover.

“Looks to me,” said she, thoughtfully, as she tickled her scalp with a knitting-needle, “that she took the kinks out o’ him.  He’s a good deal more respectable.”

“Like a panther with his teeth pulled,” said a woman who stood by the counter, buying a spool of thread.  “Ain’t you heard how they made up?”

“Land sakes, no!” said the sister Lize, hurriedly finishing a stitch and then halting her fingers to pull the yarn.

The shopkeeper began rolling ribbons with a look of indifference.  She never took part in the gossip and, although she loved to hear it, had, mostly, the air of one without ears.

“Well, that old tinker gave ’em both a good talking to,” said the customer.  “He brings ’em face to face, and he says to him, says he, ‘In the day o’ the Judgment God’ll mind the look o’ your wife,’ and then he says the same to her.”

“Singular man!” said the comely sister Lize, who now resumed her knitting.

“He never robbed that bank, either, any more ’n I did.”

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