“I have treasured that ever since; it has been my most valued possession. Would you like to see it, Lady Ruth?”
“Must assuredly,” she replies, warmly, eagerly.
He places it in her hands.
“It was plain when I found it; with my spending money for a whole year I had that gold locket made which holds it now. Ever since it has been very close to my heart.”
“Such devotion is wonderful. I sincerely hope it will meet its reward.”
Then she looks at the miniature, which time has not in the least harmed, looks at it—and utters a little ejaculation.
“She was beautiful indeed, Doctor Chicago—most charming. A face to haunt one. I can see a trace of sadness in it, even at this early age, as though her coming troubles cast a shadow before. You will be surprised when I tell you I have met her.”
The professor acts.
The medical student looks at her eagerly.
“When—where?” he asks, huskily.
Any one who has met the woman about whom cluster all the tender associations and thoughts of his lonely years of childhood, must assume new importance in his eyes.
“It was a year or so ago. At the time I was in Paris with my uncle, Sir Hugh, then alive.”
“Yes, yes, she was there about that time, as I have since learned.”
“I was out driving alone; it was just at dusk when we were returning from the boulevards, and a wheel came off the vehicle.
“Though a little alarmed, I kept my senses, and bade the driver tie his horse and then seek another vehicle for me.
“The neighborhood chanced to be a rather unsavory one. I could hear boisterous men singing, and on finding myself alone I grew alarmed. From windows frowzy heads were thrust out and rude women mocked at me. I feared insult, injury. I was ready to fly for my life when a hand touched my arm, and a gentle voice said:
“‘Come with me, miss, I will protect you.’”
John trembles with emotion.
“Then you have heard her speak! Oh, what bliss that would be for me—my mother, my poor mother who has suffered so long.”
“When I looked in her face I knew I could trust her. Besides, her garb reassured me.”
“Her garb?” wonderingly.
“Yes. She was dressed as a Sister of Charity or some other order in Paris. Willingly I followed her to an adjoining house. She begged me to sit down and await the vehicle. I was grateful and asked her questions about the great work being done by such organizations in the gay city of Paris.
“I was interested in her and asked her name. She told me she was known as Sister Magdalen. Then the carriage came and I left her.”
“One question, Lady Ruth—how did she impress you?”
“Frankly, as one who had passed through the furnace of affliction; her face was sad, yet oh, so inexpressibly sweet. It haunted me. I have looked at every sister I met wherever I traveled, in the hope of meeting her, but it has been useless.”