Mrs. Penrose could not translate the vernacular in which the child spoke, but she could, and did, translate the gift; and tears came into her eyes as she reached out her hand to take from the crippled girl the big bunch of roses, tiger-lilies and hollyhocks which Milly extended towards her. There was a welcome in the flowers of Rehoboth, if not in the people, thought she; and, at any rate, one little soul felt warmly towards her.
As Mrs. Penrose looked at the blushing flowers and caught the scents that stole up from them, and as she looked at the little face on which suffering had drawn such deep lines—a little face that told of pity for the lonely bride—a home feeling came over her, and she felt that there was another in Rehoboth, as well as her husband, by whom she was loved. To Mrs. Penrose little Milly’s gift made the wilderness to rejoice and the desert to blossom as the rose; and, stooping, she kissed the child, while her tears fell fast and starred the flowers she held in her hand.
That kiss, and the tears, won half the hearts of the Rehoboth congregation.
‘Hoo’s a lady, whatever else hoo is,’ said an old woman; ‘an’ if hoo’s aboon porritch, hoo’s none aboon kissin’ a poor mon’s child.’
* * * * *
That evening, as Mr. Penrose walked with his wife along the path of the old manse garden, he turned to her, saying:
‘This has been a trying Sunday, little woman.’
’Yes; but I’ve got over it, thanks to that little lame girl. It was her nosegay that brought me through, Walter, and that little face of hers, so full of kindly concern and pity. You don’t know how hard my heart was until she came to me—hard even against you for bringing me here.’
‘And you kissed Milly, didn’t you, Lucy?’
‘Yes. I didn’t do wrong, did I?’
’No. That kiss of yours has touched hearts my theology cannot touch. You are queen here now.’
Then he drew her to his side, and kissed her as she had kissed Milly, and on lips as sweet and rosy as the petals that fell at their feet.
BILLING AND SONS, PRINTERS, GUILDFORD.