“I shall not stay here, then!” said Madam Page. She turned suddenly and walked to the end of the hall. She then came back, and going up to Virginia said, with an emphasis that revealed her intensive excitement of passion: “You can always remember that you have driven your grandmother out of your house in favor of a drunken woman;” then, without waiting for Virginia to reply, she turned again and went upstairs. Virginia called a servant and soon had Loreen cared for. She was fast lapsing into a wretched condition. During the brief scene in the hall she had clung to Virginia so hard that her arm was sore from the clutch of the girl’s fingers.
When the bell rang for tea she went down and her grandmother did not appear. She sent a servant to her room who brought back word that Madam Page was not there. A few minutes later Rollin came in. He brought word that his grandmother had taken the evening train for the South. He had been at the station to see some friends off, and had by chance met his grandmother as he was coming out. She had told him her reason for going.
Virginia and Rollin comforted each other at the tea table, looking at each other with earnest, sad faces.
“Rollin,” said Virginia, and for the first time, almost, since his conversion she realized what a wonderful thing her brother’s changed life meant to her, “do you blame me? Am I wrong?”
“No, dear, I cannot believe you are. This is very painful for us. But if you think this poor creature owes her safety and salvation to your personal care, it was the only thing for you to do. O Virginia, to think that we have all these years enjoyed our beautiful home and all these luxuries selfishly, forgetful of the multitudes like this woman! Surely Jesus in our places would do what you have done.”
And so Rollin comforted Virginia and counseled with her that evening. And of all the wonderful changes that she henceforth was to know on account of her great pledge, nothing affected her so powerfully as the thought of Rollin’s change of life. Truly, this man in Christ was a new creature. Old things were passed away. Behold, all things in him had become new.
Dr. West came that evening at Virginia’s summons and did everything necessary for the outcast. She had drunk herself almost into delirium. The best that could be done for her now was quiet nursing and careful watching and personal love. So, in a beautiful room, with a picture of Christ walking by the sea hanging on the wall, where her bewildered eyes caught daily something more of its hidden meaning, Loreen lay, tossed she hardly knew how into this haven, and Virginia crept nearer the Master than she had ever been, as her heart went out towards this wreck which had thus been flung torn and beaten at her feet.
Meanwhile the Rectangle awaited the issue of the election with more than usual interest; and Mr. Gray and his wife wept over the poor, pitiful creatures who, after a struggle with surroundings that daily tempted them, too often wearied of the struggle and, like Loreen, threw up their arms and went whirling over the cataract into the boiling abyss of their previous condition.