Poor Mrs. Lennox understood this perfectly, but she was too much afraid of the great lady to venture a reply, and a tear rolled down her burning cheek as she wet the napkin for Katy’s head, wishing that she had back again the daughter, whose family she knew the Camerons despised. The atmosphere of Madison Square did not suit Mrs. Lennox, especially when, as the days went by and Katy began to mend, troops of gay ladies called, mistaking her for the nurse, and all staring a little curiously when told that she was Mrs. Cameron’s mother. Of course, Wilford chafed and fretted at what he could not help, seldom addressing his mother-in-law on any subject, and making himself so generally disagreeable that Helen at last suggested returning home, inasmuch as Katy was so much better. There was then a faint remonstrance on his part, but Helen did not waver in her decision, though she pitied Katy, who, when the day of her departure came and they were for a few moments alone, took her hand between her own and kissing it fondly, said: “You don’t know how I dread your going or how wretched I shall be without you. Everything which once made me happy has been removed or changed. Baby is dead, and Wilford—oh, Helen, I sometimes wish I had not heard of Genevra, for I am afraid it can never be with us as it was once; that is, I have not quite the same trust in him, and he seems so changed. Have you noticed how silent and moody he has grown?”
Helen had noticed it, but she would not say so, and she tried to comfort her sister, telling her she would be very happy yet; “but, Katy darling,” she continued, “you have a duty to perform as well as Wilford. Your heart is very sore now because of the deception, but you must not let that soreness appear in your manner. You must be to Wilford just what you always were, unless you wish to wean him from you. He, too, has had a terrible shock; his pride and self-love have been wounded, and men like him do not like being humbled as he has been. You must soothe him, Katy, and smooth his ruffled feathers, proving to him that you can and do forgive the past. And, Katy, remember you have a Friend always near to whom you can carry your burdens, sure that He will listen and heal the smarting pain. Go to Him often and make Him yours indeed. He has come very near to you within the last year, and such visitations have a meaning in them. Listen, then, lest He should come again and visit you with greater sufferings.”
“Purified by Suffering.” The words came floating back to Katy, just as Uncle Ephraim had spoken them in the pleasant meadowland, and just as they had sometimes haunted her since, but never having so deep a meaning as now, when Helen’s words suggested them again. She was suffering, oh, so terribly, but was she purifying, too? She feared not, and after the sad parting with her mother and sister was over she turned her face to her pillow, trying so hard to pray that God would make her His own, and by the suffering He sent purify her for heaven.