‘A boarding house on William Street,’ he added.
The remarkable thing about Margaret Hull was her simple faith. It looked to no glittering generality for its reward, such as the soul s ’highest good much talked of in the philosophy of that time. She believed that, for every soul she saved, one jewel would be added to her crown in Heaven. And yet she wore no jewel upon her person. Her black costume was beautifully fitted to her fine form, but was almost severely plain. It occurred to me that she did not quite understand her own heart, and, for that matter, who does? But she had somewhat in her soul that passeth all understanding — I shall not try to say what, with so little knowledge of those high things, save that I know it was of God. To what patience and unwearying effort she had schooled herself I was soon to know.
‘Can you not find anyone to love you?’ she said, turning to McClingan. ’You know the Bible says it is not good for man to live alone.
‘It does, Madame,’ said he, ’but I have a mighty fear in me, remembering the twenty-fourth verse of the twenty-fifth chapter of Proverbs: “It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetops than with a brawling woman in a wide house.” We cannot all be so fortunate as our friend Trumbull. But I have felt the great passion.
He smiled at her faintly as he spoke in a quiet manner, his r s coming off his tongue with a stately roll. His environment and the company had given him a fair degree of stimulation. There was a fine dignity in his deep voice, and his body bristled with it, from his stiff and heavy shock of blonde hair parted carefully on the left side, to his high-heeled boots. The few light hairs that stood in lonely abandonment on his upper lip, the rest of his lean visage always well shorn, had no small part in the grand effect of McClingan.
‘A love story!’ said Miss Hull. ’I do wish I had your confidence. I like a real, true love story.
‘A simple stawry it is,’ said McClingan, ’and Jam proud of my part in it. I shall be glad to tell the stawry if you are to hear it.’
We assured him of our interest.
‘Well,’ said he, ’there was one Tom Douglass at Edinburgh who was my friend and classmate. We were together a good bit of the time, and when we had come to the end of our course we both went to engage in journalism at Glasgow. We had a mighty conceit of ourselves — you know how it is, Brower, with a green lad — but we were a mind to be modest, with all our learning, so we made an agreement: I would blaw his horn and he would blaw mine. We were not to lack appreciation. He was on one paper and I on another, and every time he wrote an article I went up and down the office praising him for a man o’ mighty skill, and he did the same for me. If anyone spoke of him in my hearing I said every word of flattery at my command. “What Tom Douglass?” I would say, “the man o’ the Herald that’s written those wonderful articles from the law court? A genius, sir! an absolute genius!” Well, we were rapidly gaining reputation. One of those days I found myself in love with as comely a lass as ever a man courted. Her mother had a proper curiosity as to my character. I referred them to Tom Douglass of the Herald — he was the only man there who had known me well. The girl and her mother both went to him.