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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 568 pages of information about Family Pride.
was to sing alone, the children joining in the chorus as they had been trained to do.  It was very quiet there, and very pleasant too, with the fading sunlight streaming through the chancel window, lighting up the cross above it, and falling softly on the wall where the evergreens were hung with the sacred words:  “Peace on earth and good will toward men.”  And Helen felt the peace stealing over her as by the register she sat down for a moment ere going to the organ loft where the boy was waiting for her.  Not even the remembrance of the dark war cloud hanging over the land disturbed her then, as her thoughts went backward eighteen hundred years to Bethlehem’s manger and the little child whose birth the angels sang.  And as she thought, that Child seemed to be with her, a living presence to which she prayed, leaning her head upon the railing of the pew in front and asking Him to keep her in the perfect peace she felt around her now.  She had given Mark Ray up, and giving up had made a cruel wound, but she did not feel it now, although she thought of him in that quiet hour, asking God to keep him in safety wherever he might be, whether in the lonely watch or kneeling as she hoped he might in some house of God, where the Christmas carols would be sung and the Christmas story told.

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?”

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