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Francis Kelley
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 159 pages of information about Charred Wood.

  P.  S. My Anti-Blushine is guaranteed not to injure
  the most delicate complexion
.

“You’ll be running the clergy clean out of business if this keeps up, Mr. Sturgis,” laughed the priest.  “But unless I am much mistaken, you didn’t stop me only to show the card.  There’s something else?  I see it on your face.”

“I thought you would, Elder.  Let us walk down the side street a bit and I’ll tell you.”  The Justice became serious.  “Elder, I suppose you know Roberts who keeps the Depot Hotel?”

“I know him only slightly.”

“He was in to see me to-day, on what he called ‘important business.’  He is a crony of my constable.  He had a cock and bull story about that lady at Killimaga, who goes to your church.  I guess the constable told it to him.  I gave him no satisfaction because there was nothing in it that concerned me; but the old scamp thinks it might hurt you, so he gave it to Brinn, who will publish it if you don’t drop in on him.”

Father Murray put his hand on the shoulder of the justice.  “Thank you kindly, Mr. Sturgis,” he said.  “I would like to save the lady from annoyance, and will see Mr. Brinn at once; but I must begin by apologizing for my recent attack on his beauty.”

“No need to do that, Father,” assured the justice.  “He printed the joke himself in to-day’s Herald.”

When the priest left the office of the editor, he walked toward the rectory in deep thought, quite evidently worried, but the suppressed story was safely in his pocket.

CHAPTER IX

THE BISHOP’S CONFESSION

“How do you do, Mr. Griffin.  I am delighted to see you again, and so soon after our first meeting.”

Two days had elapsed since the unpleasant incident at the rectory, and Mark, engrossed in thoughts by no means in harmony with the peaceful country through which he wandered, was taken unawares.  He turned sharply.  A big automobile had stopped near him and from it leaned the young Bishop, hand outstretched.

Mark hurried forward.  “I am glad to see Your Lordship again.  You are still traveling?” He had retained no pleasant recollections of the dignitary, and, as he shook the extended hand, was rather surprised to realize that he felt not a little pleased by the unexpected encounter.

“I am still traveling—­Confirmation tours all this season.  Are you going far, Mr. Griffin?”

“I am merely walking, without goal.”

“Then come in with me.  I am on my way to a little parish ten miles farther on.  I want to chat.  My secretary went on ahead by train, to ‘prepare the way,’ as it were.  I will send the car back with you.  Won’t you come?” The tone of the Bishop’s voice indicated an earnest desire that the invitation be accepted.

Mark hesitated but a moment.  “I thank Your Lordship.  I will gladly go with you on such pleasant terms.”  He entered the car and, sinking into its soft cushions, suddenly awakened to the fact that he had tramped far, and was tired.

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