“Oh, not at all,” he put in reassuringly. “It has grown to be a large town—oh, quite twice the size of Tyre. It’s a great Irish place, I’ve heard. Our own church seems to be a good deal run down there. We must build it up again; and the salary is better—a little.”
But he too was depressed, and they walked on toward their temporary lodging in a silence full of mutual grief. It was not until they had come within sight of this goal that he prefaced by a little sigh of resignation these further words,—
“Come—let us make the best of it, my girl! After all, we are in the hands of the Lord.”
“Oh, don’t, Theron!” she said hastily. “Don’t talk to me about the Lord tonight; I can’t bear it!”
“Theron! Come out here! This is the funniest thing we have heard yet!”
Mrs. Ware stood on the platform of her new kitchen stoop. The bright flood of May-morning sunshine completely enveloped her girlish form, clad in a simple, fresh-starched calico gown, and shone in golden patches upon her light-brown hair. She had a smile on her face, as she looked down at the milk boy standing on the bottom step—a smile of a doubtful sort, stormily mirthful.
“Come out a minute, Theron!” she called again; and in obedience to the summons the tall lank figure of her husband appeared in the open doorway behind her. A long loose, open dressing-gown dangled to his knees, and his sallow, clean-shaven, thoughtful face wore a morning undress expression of youthful good-nature. He leaned against the door-sill, crossed his large carpet slippers, and looked up into the sky, drawing a long satisfied breath.
“What a beautiful morning!” he exclaimed. “The elms over there are full of robins. We must get up earlier these mornings, and take some walks.”
His wife indicated the boy with the milk-pail on his arm, by a wave of her hand.
“Guess what he tells me!” she said. “It wasn’t a mistake at all, our getting no milk yesterday or the Sunday before. It seems that that’s the custom here, at least so far as the parsonage is concerned.”
“What’s the matter, boy?” asked the young minister, drawling his words a little, and putting a sense of placid irony into them. “Don’t the cows give milk on Sunday, then?”
The boy was not going to be chaffed. “Oh, I’ll bring you milk fast enough on Sundays, if you give me the word,” he said with nonchalance. “Only it won’t last long.”
“How do you mean—’won’t last long’?”, asked Mrs. Ware, briskly.
The boy liked her—both for herself, and for the doughnuts fried with her own hands, which she gave him on his morning round. He dropped his half-defiant tone.
“The thing of it’s this,” he explained. “Every new minister starts in saying we can deliver to this house on Sundays, an’ then gives us notice to stop before the month’s out. It’s the trustees that does it.”