* * * * *
“My dear sir—It is now nearly five months since I saw you last. Need I tell you that the sense of your kindness is still fresh in my memory? You do not know, indeed you cannot know, what an impression your goodness made upon me. You showed me that I was acting rightly. It has been so hard to act rightly. Of course you quite understand what I mean. I cannot refer to the great sorrow which has overtaken me and my dear innocent little Nellie. There is no use in referring to it, for I have told you all. You allowed me to unburden my heart to you during my brief visit, and ever since that day I have felt very much, I may say infinitely, relieved.
“I am again about to ask you a favour; I trust indeed that I am not asking too much, but I know by experience how kind you are and so I am not afraid to ask this too. Do you remember speaking to me of the little cottage? The picture you drew of it quite charmed me, and I have determined to take it, that is, if it is still to be let and if it is not asking quite too much of you. I mean, if you will take it for me. You cannot think how grateful I shall be and I enclose a cheque. I am almost sure you said thirty-six pounds. It was thirty-six, was it not? The reason I venture to enclose the money is because you are so very kind, but of course you do not know anything certain about me. But I am sure you will understand. You said you were sure I could live with my little girl in Billingsfield for three hundred a year. I find I have a little more, in fact nearly five hundred. If you tell me that I can have the cottage, I will come down at once, for town is very dreary and we have been here all summer except a week at Margate. Let me thank you again, you have been so very kind, and believe me, my dear sir, very sincerely yours,
* * * * *
“Augustin, my dear, this is very exciting,” said Mrs. Ambrose, as she handed the cheque to her husband for inspection and returned the letter to its envelope, preparatory to marking it for future reference; and when, as has been said, she had written upon the outside the words—Goddard, Cottage, and had put it away she turned upon her husband with an inquiring manner peculiar to her. Mr. Ambrose was standing before the window, looking out at the rain and occasionally glancing at the cheque he still held in his hand.
“Just like a woman to send a cheque to ‘bearer’ through the post,” he remarked, severely. “However since I have got it, it is all right.”
“I don’t think it is all right, Augustin,” said his wife. “We are taking a great responsibility in bringing her into the parish. I am quite sure she is a dissenter or a Romanist or something dreadful, to begin with.”
“My dear,” answered the vicar, mildly, “you make very uncharitable suppositions. It seems to me that the most one can say of her is that she is very unhappy and that she does not write very good English.”