And, in the same hour, Maud was upon her knees, in the silence of her own chamber, shedding tears which were at once both sweet and bitter, in her heart a tumult of emotion, joy and thanksgiving at strife with those dark powers which shadowed her existence. She had do doubts of the completeness and persistency of her love. But was not this love a sin, and its very strength the testimony of her soul’s loss?
Waymark had written to Ida just after her imprisonment began, a few words of such comfort as he could send. No answer came; perhaps the prison rules prevented it. When the term was drawing to a close, he wrote again, to let her know that he would meet her on the morning of her release.
It would be on a Tuesday morning. As the time drew near, Waymark did his best to think of the matter quietly. The girl had no one else to help her; it would have been brutality to withdraw and leave her to her fate, merely because he just a little feared the effect upon himself of such a meeting. And the feeling on her side? Well, that he could not pretend to be ignorant of, and, in spite of everything, there was still the same half-acknowledged pleasure in the thought. He tried to persuade himself that he should have the moral courage to let her as soon as possible understand his new position; he also tried to believe that this would not involve any serious shock to Ida. For all that, he knew only too well that man is “ein erbarmlicher Schuft,” and there was always the possibility that he might say nothing of what had happened, and let things take their course.
On the Monday he was already looking forward to the meeting with restlessness. Could he have foreseen that anything would occur to prevent his keeping his promise, it would have caused him extreme anxiety. But such a possibility never entered his thoughts, and, shortly before mid-day, he went down to collect his rents as usual.
The effect of a hard winter was seen in the decrease of the collector’s weekly receipts. The misery of cold and starvation was growing familiar to Waymark’s eyes, and scarcely excited the same feelings as formerly; yet there were some cases in which he had not the heart to press for the payment of rent, and his representations to Mr. Woodstock on behalf of the poor creatures were more frequently successful than in former times. Still, in the absence of then but eviction, and Waymark more than once knew what ideal philanthropy, there was nothing for it every now and it was to be cursed to his face by suffering wretches whom despair made incapable of discrimination. “Where are we to go?” was the oft-repeated question, and the only reply was a shrug of the shoulders; impossible to express oneself otherwise. They clung desperately to habitations so vile that brutes would have forsaken them for cleaner and warmer retreats in archway and