THE CORNER OF THE BUTCHER’S SHOP.
All that same Sunday morning, the minister and Dorothy had of course plenty of work to their hand, for their more immediate neighbors were all of the poor. Their own house, although situated on the very bank of the river, was in no worse plight than most of the houses in the town, for it stood upon an artificial elevation; and before long, while it had its lower parts full of water like the rest, its upper rooms were filled with people from the lanes around. But Mr. Drake’s heart was in the Pottery, for he was anxious as to the sufficiency of his measures. Many of the neighbors, driven from their homes, had betaken themselves to his inclosure, and when he went, he found the salmon-fishers still carrying families thither. He set out at once to get what bread he could from the baker’s, a quantity of meat from the butcher, cheese, coffee, and tins of biscuits and preserved meat from the grocers: all within his bounds were either his own people or his guests, and he must do what he could to feed them. For the first time he felt rich, and heartily glad and grateful that he was. He could please God, his neighbor, and himself all at once, getting no end of good out of the slave of which the unrighteous make a god.
He took Dorothy with him, for he would have felt helpless on such an expedition without her judgment; and, as Lisbeth’s hands were more than full, they agreed it was better to take Amanda. Dorothy was far from comfortable at having to leave Juliet alone all day, but the possibility of her being compelled to omit her customary visit had been contemplated between them, and she could not fail to understand it on this the first occasion. Anyhow, better could not be, for the duty at home was far the more pressing. That day she showed an energy which astonished even her father. Nor did she fail of her reward. She received insights into humanity which grew to real knowledge. I was going to say that, next to an insight into the heart of God, an insight into the heart of a human being is the most precious of things; but when I think of it—what is the latter but the former? I will say this at least, that no one reads the human heart well, to whom the reading reveals nothing of the heart of the Father. The wire-gauze of sobering trouble over