She was thinking of what Janet had said about the “Words” of Christ—the Word of Purity—and the Word of Love. How often she had heard her father read and expound that chapter! very differently as far as phraseology—perhaps even as far as meaning—went, yet with all his heart, like Janet. He was an Anglican clergyman who had done missionary service in the Canadian West. He had been dead now three years, and her mother five. She had bitterly missed them both when she was in her worst need; yet now she was thankful they had died—before—
What would her father think of her now? Would he grant that she was free, or would he still hold to those rigid, those cruel views of his? Oh, he must grant it! She was free! Her breast shook with the fervour of her protest. She had been through passion and wrong, through things that seared and defiled. She knew well that she had been no mere innocent sufferer. Yet now she had her life before her again; and both heart and senses were hungry for the happiness she had so abominably missed. And her starved conscience—that, too, was eagerly awake. She had her self-respect to recover—the past to forget.
Work! that was the receipt—hard work! And this dear woman, Janet Leighton, to help her; Janet, with her pure, modest life and her high aims. So, at last, clinging to the thought of her new friend like a wearied child, Rachel Henderson fell asleep.
“A jolly view!”
Janet assented. She was sitting behind the pony, while Rachel had walked up the hill beside the carriage, to the high point where both she and the pony—a lethargic specimen of the race—had paused to take breath.
They were on a ridge whence there was a broad bit of the world to see. To the north, a plain rich in all the diversities of English land—field and wood, hamlet and church, the rising grounds and shallow depressions, the small enclosures and the hedgerow timber, that make all the difference between the English midlands and, say, the plain of Champagne, or a Russian steppe. Across the wide, many-coloured scene, great clouds from the west were sweeping, with fringes of rain and sudden bursts of light or shadow, which in their perpetual movement—suggesting attack from the sky and response from the earth—gave drama and symbol to the landscape.
On the south—things very different! First, an interlocked range of hills, forest-clothed, stretching east and west, and, at the very feet of the two women, a forest valley offering much that was strange to English eyes. Two years before it had been known only to the gamekeeper and the shooting guests of a neighbouring landowner. Now a great timber camp filled it. The gully ran far and deep into the heart of the forest country, with a light railway winding along the bottom, towards an unseen road. The steep sides of the valley—Rachel and Janet stood on the edge of one of them—were