’Oh, the vicar, to be sure; and he seemed finely surprised to see Miss Hamilton there. “So you’ve come to see your old scholar,” he says, smiling, and Miss Hamilton says, “Yes; but she must go now,” and she drops her glove, and parson looks for it, but it was too dark, and for all his groping it could not be found. “I must just go without it,” says Miss Hamilton; “but I have got my muff, and it does not matter,” and she says good-bye, and goes away. Parson found it, though,’ went on Robin garrulously. ’When Sally lighted the candle he spies it at once, and puts it in his pocket. “Miss Hamilton will be fine and glad when you tell her it is found,” I says to parson; but he just looks at me in an odd sort of way, and says, “Yes, Robin, certainly.”—’And you won’t forget to give it to her, to-morrow, sir?’ but he did not seem to hear me. “Good-night, my man,” he said. “So Miss Hamilton did not think you were too old to be kissed.” And he kissed me just in the same place as she did. What did you say, miss?’
‘I did not say anything, Robin.’
’Didn’t you, miss? I thought I heard you say “poor man,” or something like that. Is not Miss Hamilton beautiful? I think she is almost as beautiful as my picture of the Virgin Mary. I asked parson if he did not think so, and he said yes. Do you think she will come again soon?’
‘We shall see, Robbie dear.’ But, as I spoke, something told me that we should not see Miss Hamilton there again.
THE PICTURE IN GLADYS’S ROOM
The days flew rapidly by, and I was almost too busy to heed them as they passed. Each morning I woke with fresh energy to my day’s work; the hours were so full of interest and varied employment that my evening rest came all too soon. I grew so fond of my patients, especially of poor little Robin, that I never left them willingly; and the knowledge that I was necessary to them, that they looked to me for relief and comfort, seemed to fill my life with sweetness.
As I said to myself daily, no one need complain that one’s existence is objectless, or altogether desolate, as long as there are sick bodies and sick souls to which one can minister. For ’Give, and it shall be given unto you,’ is the Divine command, and sympathy and help bestowed on our suffering fellow-creatures shall be repaid into our bosoms a hundredfold. I was right in my surmise: Miss Hamilton did not again visit her little scholar; but Lady Betty came almost daily, and was a great help in amusing the child. I was with him for an hour in the morning, and again in the late afternoon; but Mrs. Marshall took up the greater part of my time; she was growing more feeble every day, and needed my constant care. Unless it were absolutely necessary, I was unwilling to sacrifice my night’s rest, or to draw too largely on my stock of strength; but I had fallen into the habit, during the last week