“I don’t know. Those fellows have ways I can’t fathom. I don’t know what they would do. They probably have their plans laid. It’s evident that they don’t want her to meet him. I can’t arrest her, and neither can they; but they certainly could do for him if they wanted to. It would be easier to bring her back, then, without scandal or publicity. Now you’ve got all I know. What are you going to do?”
“I’m afraid,” Mark spoke with an effort, “I’m afraid that I don’t know just what to do, Saunders. You see, I happen to love her.”
“But what about the other man?”
“Well, Saunders, I find it very hard to believe that.”
“Griffin,” said Saunders, “I’ve told you a lot, because I know you are a gentleman, and because you have a right to know. I make only one request of you: please don’t speak of this.”
“I appreciate the confidence, Saunders. My word is given.”
“Think this thing over, Griffin. You’re the right stuff. I don’t blame you for wanting her. You know better than I if she’s right, and if you ever can have her.”
Mark went back to his room. On his table lay a note. He opened it and read:
“My dear Mark: The Bishop is coming this
morning to confirm the little class of tots who received
their First Holy Communion last Sunday. His
Lordship is a charming man. I’m sure you
would like to meet him. Come up and take dinner
with us at noon. He leaves on the three o’clock
train. Better be at the rectory at eleven thirty.
When Mark arrived at the church, which stood quite close to the little rectory, he heard the choir singing the Veni Creator, and remembered enough of former visits to church services to know that the sermon was about to begin. Early for dinner, he decided to pass the time listening to what the Bishop might have to say. There were no vacant seats near the door of the church, so he had to go quite close to the sanctuary before he found a place. Only two seats ahead of him was the group of twenty little girls about to be confirmed, and directly across the aisle from them were fifteen little boys.
Mark had vivid recollections of the day of his own First Communion, but he had never been confirmed. Things looked just as they did on the day he so well remembered. The girls were dressed in white, and each small head was covered by a veil which fell in soft long folds to the bottom of the short skirts. The boys were in black, each with a white ribbon around his right arm. These boys all had serious faces, and had evidently been prepared well for the reception of the Sacrament. Mark found himself wondering how the pastor could possibly have succeeded in taming some of the lads, in whom he recognized certain mischievous youngsters he had seen about the hotel; but tamed they certainly were.