Now before that winter reached its bitter climax many things occurred in the city which concerned the lives of all the characters in this history of the disciples who promised to walk in His steps.
It chanced by one of those coincidences that seem to occur preternaturally that one afternoon just as Felicia came out of the Settlement with a basket of food which she was going to leave as a sample with a baker in the Penrose district, Stephen Clyde opened the door of the carpenter shop in the basement and came out in time to meet her as she reached the sidewalk.
“Let me carry your basket, please,” he said.
“Why do you say ’please’?” asked Felicia, handing over the basket while they walked along.
“I would like to say something else,” replied Stephen, glancing at her shyly and yet with a boldness that frightened him, for he had been loving Felicia more every day since he first saw her and especially since she stepped into the shop that day with the Bishop, and for weeks now they had been thrown in each other’s company.
“What else?” asked Felicia, innocently falling into the trap.
“Why—” said Stephen, turning his fair, noble face full toward her and eyeing her with the look of one who would have the best of all things in the universe, “I would like to say: ’Let me carry your basket, dear Felicia’.”
Felicia never looked so beautiful in her life. She walked on a little way without even turning her face toward him. It was no secret with her own heart that she had given it to Stephen some time ago. Finally she turned and said shyly, while her face grew rosy and her eyes tender: “Why don’t you say it, then?”
“May I?” cried Stephen, and he was so careless for a minute of the way he held the basket, that Felicia exclaimed:
“Yes! But oh, don’t drop my goodies!”
“Why, I wouldn’t drop anything so precious for all the world, dear Felicia,” said Stephen, who now walked on air for several blocks, and what was said during that walk is private correspondence that we have no right to read. Only it is a matter of history that day that the basket never reached its destination, and that over in the other direction, late in the afternoon, the Bishop, walking along quietly from the Penrose district, in rather a secluded spot near the outlying part of the Settlement district, heard a familiar voice say:
“But tell me, Felicia, when did you begin to love me?”
“I fell in love with a little pine shaving just above your ear that day when I saw you in the shop!” said the other voice with a laugh so clear, so pure, so sweet that it did one good to hear it.
“Where are you going with that basket?” he tried to say sternly.
“We are taking it to—where are we taking it, Felicia?”
“Dear Bishop, we are taking it home to begin—”
“To begin housekeeping with,” finished Stephen, coming to the rescue.