A movement of her hand as she lifted up her head struck against the pocket of her dress, where lay the letter brought to her an hour or so ago—Bell’s letter—which, after glancing at the superscription, she had put aside until a more convenient season for reading it.
Taking it out, she tore open the envelope, starting suddenly as another letter, soiled and unsealed, met her eye. She read Bell’s first, and then, with a throbbing heart, which as yet would not believe, she took up Mark’s, and understanding now much that was before mysterious to her. Juno’s call, too, came to her mind, and though she was unwilling to charge so foul a wrong upon that young lady, she could find no other solution to the mystery. There was a glow of indignation—Helen had scarcely been mortal without it; but that passed away in pity for the misguided girl and in joy at the happiness opening so broadly before her. That Mark would come to Silverton she had no hope, but he would surely write—his letter, perhaps, was even then on the way; and kissing the one she held she hid it in her bosom and went up to where the organ boy had for several minutes been kicking at stools and books, and whistling “Old John Brown” by way of attracting attention. The boy was in a hurry, and asked in so forlorn a tone: “Is we going to play?” that Helen answered good-humoredly: “Just a few minutes, Billy. I want to try the carol and the opening, which I’ve hardly played at all.”
With an air of submission Bill took his post and Helen began to play, but she could only see before her: “I have loved you ever since that morning when I put the lilies in your hair,” and she played so out of time and tune that Billy asked: “What makes ’em go so bad?”