She led the way up the pleasant street, her husband following in silent wonder as she passed up the walk, turned the key of the cottage door, invited him to come in and be seated, while she passed on into the next room. A few moments, and then the door swung open, revealing that cool darkened dining-room, and Faith, with ill-concealed triumph in the tones, said:—
“Please walk out to tea, my dear; I’m sure you must be hungry by this time.” He saw as through a mist the white table arranged with exquisite neatness and care, decked with flowers and spread with angel’s fare, he almost thought, for he turned to Faith a bewildered look, as he said:—
“Where are we? Is this heaven? Tell me quick!”
What a merry tea-table it was; how they talked and laughed, and almost cried by turns! and even baby seemed to realise that some great event had happened, and laughed and crowed appropriately.
After tea, when they talked it all over, Frank said:—
“Who but you would have thought of all this? How happy we shall be here, and I owe it all to you!”
“You forget Mrs. Macpherson,” Faith said.
“Yes, and the gasoline stove; but for that it seems this could not have been accomplished,” said her husband.
“We both forget the dear Father in heaven,” Faith said, in reverent tones, “that we owe everything to him alone.”
By a mutual impulse they knelt down, and the husband, in a few words of prayer, consecrated this new home to the Lord, and themselves anew to his service, thereby feeling added dignity and joy in his manhood, now that “he was a priest in his own house” indeed.
So the months go on in peace and joy. Faith sings at her work, and baby plays in the garden, and Frank Vincent thinks there is but just one woman in the whole world that knows how to cook. The plan failed in no particular; the magical stove has proved itself a most efficient servant, and moreover, Faith manages to lay aside a snug sum every week.
A busy, toilsome life she had led—this mother. She had reared a family; had laid some of them down to sleep in the old cemetery; had struggled through poverty, sickness, and sorrow—she and Ephraim together—always together. He brought her to no stately home that day so long ago, that she put her hand in his, and he had no stocks or bonds or broad acres, yet Mrs. Kensett had for forty years counted herself a rich woman. She possessed the true, tender, undivided heart of a good man—a love that nothing dimmed, that trials only made stronger, that hedged her life about with thoughtful care; even when grey hairs crowned the heads of both, this husband and wife rejoiced in the love of their youth. Nay, that love purified, tried, as gold is tried in the fire. In the last few years this good old couple seemed to have reached a Beulah land. They had enough laid by to support them comfortably now that their children had all flown from the home nest, and their quiet happy life flowed on without a ripple.