“It is one of the necessities of our fallen nature,” Mrs. Denison replied, in her calm, yet earnest voice, “that spiritual virtues can only have birth in pain. We rise into the higher regions of heavenly purity only after the fires have tried us. Some natures, as you know, demand a severer discipline than others. Yours, I think, is one of them. Jessie’s is another. But after the earthly dross of your souls is consumed, the pure gold will flow together, I trust, at the bottom of the same crucible. Wait, my friend; wait longer. The time is not yet.”
A sadder man than when he came, did Mr. Hendrickson leave the house of Mrs. Denison on that day. She had failed to counsel him according to his wishes; but her words, though they had not carried full conviction to his clouded understanding, had shown him a goal still far in advance, towards which all of true manhood in him felt the impulse to struggle.
WHEN the news of Mr. Dexter’s second marriage reached Mr. Hendrickson, he said:
“Now she is absolved!” but his friend Mrs. Denison, replied:
“I doubt if she will so consider it. No act of Mr. Dexter’s can alter her relation to the Divine law. I am one of these who cannot regard him as wholly innocent. And yet his case is an extreme one; for his wife’s separation was as final as if death had broken the bond. But I will not judge him; he is the keeper of his own conscience, and the All-Wise is merciful in construction.”
“I believe Jessie Loring to be as free to give her hand as before her marriage.”
“With her will rest the decision,” was Mrs. Denison’s answer.
“Have you seen her?” inquired Hendrickson.
“Has she been seen outside of her aunt’s dwelling?”
“If so I have never heard of it.”
“Do you think, if I were to call at Mrs. Loring’s, she would see me?”
“I cannot answer the question.”
“But what is your opinion?”
“If I were you,” said Mrs. Denison, “I would not call at present.”
“This act of her former husband is too recent. Let her have time to get her mind clear as to her new relation. She may break through her seclusion now, and go abroad into society again. If so you will meet her without the constraint of a private interview.”
“But she may still shut herself out from the world. Isolation may have become a kind of second nature.”
“We shall see,” replied Mrs. Denison. “But for the present I think it will be wiser to wait.”
Weeks, even months, passed, and Paul Hendrickson waited in vain. He was growing very impatient.
“I must see her! Suspense like this is intolerable!” he said, coming in upon Mrs. Denison one evening.
“I warn you against it,” replied Mrs. Denison.
“I cannot heed the warning.”