“The youthful husband seems the most to be pitied of the two. On my way home I met him, shabby and forlorn enough, and what do you suppose he was doing? Positively in the capacity of errand boy, carrying parcels to deliver. He is an under-paid drudge in a retail grocery, on starvation wages. He turned purple with mortification, and pretended not to see me. ’Oh, my countrymen, what a fall was there!’
“But I am afraid I have shocked your forgiving spirit by my hardness of heart until you are ready to deplore the depravity of human nature. My tender one! I am not like you. It comes hard for Alicia Linden to overlook injustice or forgive her enemies.
“She has always
a place in her heart, though, for absent dear ones,
and she often thinks regretfully of one sweet face that used to
smile at her hearthstone.
“Can you not come to me, Clemence?
“Last Sabbath I went to place my offering of flowers at the graves of our buried dead. The golden glory of the autumn day poured its heavenly radiance into the far depths of my soul. How lovely looked the silent resting-place of our dear ones. I thought sadly of you, and wished you were near me, to mingle your tears with mine.
“As it is, I can
only pray that God will guard you with loving
care. Your affectionate ALICIA.”
It was Thursday afternoon. The “Ladies’ Charitable Society of Waveland” had assembled at the house of its President. The usual business of the meeting had been dispatched, and the ladies were engaged in the more congenial employment of retailing the village gossip.
“Have you observed,” queried Mrs. Dr. Little, “how wretchedly ill that young Graystone woman is looking? The doctor was saying, only this morning, that he thought she was in a decline.”
“I suppose its botheration, for one thing,” said Mrs. Brier. “She had ought to have been more circumspect, and then she would have kept her position. I don’t see how she can live without work, any more than anybody else. We can’t be expected, though, to want a person with her morals contaminating our innocent children. That girl has travelled the downward road with awful rapidity since she came here. Just to think, she has been the talk of the town!”