“And that without even consulting your father? much less considering his permission necessary to your action?” Though the words seemed to convey reproach, if not reproof, his tone was gentle and tender.
“No, no, papa! I must cease to think it my duty if you forbid it.”
“As I do most positively, I cannot stay, and I should never think for a moment of leaving you here!”
“But, papa, how then am I to do my duty by these poor ignorant creatures? how can I let them perish for lack of knowledge whom Christ has put into my care?”
“Procure a chaplain, who shall hold regular services for them every Sabbath, and do pastoral work among them through the week. You will not grudge him his salary.”
“Papa, what an excellent idea! Grudge him his salary? No, indeed; if I can get the right man to fill the place, he shall have a liberal one. And then he will be a check upon Mr. Spriggs, and inform me if the people are abused. But how shall I find him?”
“What do you do when in want of something you do not know exactly how to procure?”
“Pray for direction and help,” she answered, low and reverently.
“We will both do that, asking that the right man may be sent us; and I will write to-morrow to some of the presidents of the theological seminaries, asking them to recommend some one suited for the place.”
“Papa,” she cried, lifting a very bright face to his, “what a load you have taken from my mind.”
“A mighty pain to love it is
And ’tis a pain that pain to miss;
But of all pains, the greatest pain
It is to love, but love in vain.”
One lovely afternoon in the second week of their stay at Viamede, Mr. Dinsmore and his daughter were seated in the shade of the trees on the lawn, she busied with some fancy-work while her father read aloud to her.
As he paused to turn a leaf, “Papa,” she said, glancing off down the bayou, “there is a steamer coming, the same that brought us, I think; and see, it is rounding to at our landing. Can it be bringing us a guest?”
“Yes, a gentleman is stepping ashore. Why, daughter, it is Harold Allison.”
“Harold! oh, how delightful!” And rising they hastened to meet and welcome him with truly Southern warmth of hospitality.
“Harold! how good of you!” cried Elsie. “Mamma wrote us that you were somewhere in this region, and if I’d had your address, I should have sent you an invitation to come and stay as long as possible.”
“And you have done well and kindly by us to come without waiting for that,” Mr. Dinsmore said, shaking the hand of his young brother-in-law with a warmth of cordiality that said more than his words.
“Many thanks to you both,” he answered gayly. “I was conceited enough to feel sure of a welcome, and did not wait, as a more modest fellow might, to be invited. But what a lovely place! a paradise upon earth! And, Elsie, you, in those dainty white robes, look the fit presiding genius.”