Mrs. Mundy got up. “You are dead tired and ought to go to bed. Night before last you didn’t sleep two hours, and I heard you up late last night. You mustn’t take things too hard, Miss Dandridge.” She put her warm hands on my cold ones. “You’re young, but for over thirty years I have been looking life in the face, and I’ve learned a lot that nothing but time can teach. One of the things is that we all ain’t made in the same mold, and our minds and hearts ain’t any more alike than our bodies. Every day we live we have to get in a new supply of patience and politeness to keep from hitting out, at times, at folks who don’t see our way. Some people ain’t ever going to look at things they don’t want to see, or to listen to what they don’t want to hear, but there ain’t as many people like that as you think. There’s many a woman in this world to-day that God is proud of; in the Homes and places what they’re the head of, and on their boards and things they are learning that all women are their kin, and after a while they’ll make other women understand. I’ll see Etta to-morrow, and if she will come I will bring her to see you. But until Mr. Harrie is gone she won’t come—won’t leave him. Sometimes it seems a pity he didn’t die. Go to bed, Miss Dandridge! you are all tired out.”
For two weeks Etta Blake refused to come to Mrs. Mundy’s, refused to see the latter when she went to see her, to see me when I went; but yesterday she came to both of us. Ten days ago Harrie was taken to Selwyn’s home and is now practically well. Mr. Guard tells me he is going away; going West.
I have seen Selwyn but twice since he learned where Harrie was found, and then not alone. Both times some one was here and he stayed but a short while. He has bitten dust of late and even with me he is incased in a reserve that is impenetrable. There has been no chance to mention Harrie’s name had he wished to do so. I do not know that he will ever mention it again. Selwyn is the sort of person who rarely speaks of painful or disgraceful things.
I was in my sitting-room when Mrs. Mundy came up with Etta. As the latter stood in the doorway prayer sprang in my heart that I would not shrink, but the heritage of the ages was upon me, and for a half-minute I could only think of her as one is taught to think—as a depraved, polluted creature, hardly human, and then I saw she was a suffering, sinful child, and I took her hands in mine and led her to the fire.
To see clearly, see without confusion, and with no blinding of sentimental sympathy, but as woman should see woman, I had been trying to face life frankly for some months past; yet when I saw Etta I realized I had gone but a little way on the long and lonely road awaiting if I were to do my part. And then I remembered Harrie. He had gone back to the proudest, haughtiest home in town; and Etta—where could Etta go?