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erying out against God's ways, in my heart! You know I never distrusted Him, for myself. But, for my friend, I could have done better, I thought!

So it was not a "miserable mistake." A wholesome one, instead, of the Father's own making. His machinery for cutting and polishing a pair of human souls into fitness for His day of making up His jewels. His veil drawn between, while He was beautifying them-each for the other, and both for Himself. His sign and seal upon His "elect,”—elected, first, to the purification by fire; next to the sweetness and the hardships of His service; finally, to the fulness of the glory to be revealed!

This was what I felt. What I said--when I could say anything was too far away of kin for kinship to be traceable.

"How strange that two cousins-german should bear exactly the same name! It must give rise to endless confusion and mistake."

"It happened naturally enough," said Mr. Watling. "Twenty-five or thirty years ago, Amos Venner was a cotton planter in Texas, and Hugh the American Consul at Naples. Sons were born to them, within a fortnight, or thereabouts, of each other. Letters traveled slowly in those days. Both the children were christened Paul, in honor of their paternal grandfather, before either brother knew of the other's good fortune. But I don't think it ever caused any trouble. They have lived too far apart; one at the South, the other in Europe or New York."

I denied myself the pleasure of dispelling the illusion. I was in a white heat of impatience to get home and write to Winnie," Paul is not married. He has never so much as dreamed of the thing. He is going to be a minister. He has buried you in his heart, and mourns the living dead. Over that grave, God writes 'Resurgam.' For He is gracious, and His mercy endureth." This would I


But there must be something more, of where and when and why.

"Do you know where Paul Venner is now?" I asked. "In New Orleans; or, it may be, on his way home. Most likely the latter."

"Has he been in New Orleans all summer?

Now, Mr. Watling looked at me suspiciously. This persistent questioning about a stranger began to strike him as odd, to say the least of it. I answered his look. "I ask from a deeper motive than curiosity. I take an interest in Paul Venner, which shall have a future explanation. Meantime, it will do no harm, and may do good, for me to know what have been his outward movements since last spring."


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First," replied Mr. Watling, "his father despatched him to New Orleans, on important business for the firm. There, it was decided that he must proceed forthwith to California. He returned in August, to find his father looking ill and worn; waiting,' he said, 'for Paul to come back and take his place, so that he might give up, and be sick a little while.' The giving up was final; he died a month afterward. For a time, Paul seemed quite stunned by the blow. Then he came to the decision I told you of. He is closing up the business. The two houses having always been connected, he was obliged to visit New Orleans again, two or three weeks ago, for consultation with his uncle. It is about time for him to return."

Now, I had got all I wanted. I bade Mr. Watling goodbye, hurriedly. I set out for home at a great pace.

On the way, it slackened. Thoughts came to me; thoughts and a question. I could write to Winnie, but she would she write to Paul Venner?

I tried to tell myself, Yes; and could only get out an unwilling, No! Womanly pride, womanly delicacy,-finespun as cobwebs, yet strong as steel,-these would hold her back.

I sputtered furiously against the folly, the sin, of sacrificing the happiness of two lives to a figment, a scruple, a mere conventionalism. It would be setting up an image of straw, and not daring to knock it down. Blenching at a moment's pain, and going out deliberately into a long agony of years. Sickening at a little drop of bittersweet, and drinking slowly a great, bottomless cup of gall. In vain. Over all my resentful metaphors strode that relentless, "No." It set its foot on my neck, and held me at its mercy.

With clearest soul-sight, I saw what she would writo back. "Providence, having brought me so much, will surely bring me the rest, in His good time. I can wait."

And what then? A dull pain of suspense, a slow fever of expectation, a growing weight of patience. Across that peace whereof she had told me, "flowing as a river," I should have thrown a long, wavering shadow of unrest, a haunting "if," a slow-dripping "when." A joy with an ache in it. A gift with a sting in it. No, a thousand times, no! whatever I did, I would not do that!

I walked slowly enough now, and pondered. Clearly, here was a case where Providence needed an instrument. None more ready and glad than I. That, sans dire. Therefore this clue had been put into What was I hands. my

to do with it? The answer flashed back, as along an electric wire. Give it to Paul Venner. But how?

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Write. An anonymous letter

I did not

I stopped short. Anonymous letters are instruments of Satan. Slimy, as with the trail of a serpent on them. Smutched, as by pitchy hands. Of evil reputation, because found in bad company.

Besides, Paul Venner might suspect Winnie of having written it. I flushed all over at the bare thought. Nor did it help me much to pronounce that such suspicion would prove him unworthy ever to have stood at the white portal of her heart.

What I did, then, should be done openly. I took my pen, and dashed off this :

"He that could trust his happiness to so fragile a thing as a flower, deserved the swift retribution that overtook him. But the spring will bring again saffrona buds as sweet as those that perished with their mission but half fulfilled; and for hopes which we mourn as dead, there may also be a springtime and a reblooming. So (speaking as the spirit only moveth her) saith


Reading it over, I thought I might have signed it "Pythia," with fitness; it sounded oracular enough. But its meaning would not be dark to Paul Venner. And I sealed and sent it forthwith.

Then I began to be dubious. I discerned that none can go back to the precise place in life, he has left behind. Circumstances have dug it up, or built a wall around it, or greened it over, or blighted it with barrenness. Or he has grown, or dwindled, and no longer fits into it.

Besides, there is no such thing as a perfect reparation on earth. When a man would restore the fair image of Right to the place from whence he stole it, the old niche ist filled up or vanished. He must take up with the one which nearest resembles it; or go on with his burden, vowing to steal no more.

Perhaps Winnie and Paul have lived so far past that old point of divergence, as to make it impossible to return! Perhaps it is too late for the old mistake ever to be set right. Perhaps Winnie's love is dead, as she thinks; and not in a trance, as I have taken for granted! Perhaps Paul, in “finding all," counts nothing lost! Perhaps―

I am in a state of mortal bewilderment with all these perhapses! Write quickly, and settle me into a certainty of having done well, or ill; either would be preferable to these doubts. FRANCESCA.




[Alice Prescott to Francesca.]

EAR Mrs. Golden: I am sorry to have to tell you that Miss Frost is very ill-with that dreadful fever which has already caused us so much sorrow. Will you come to her at once, and also send word to her uncle in New York? We could not find his papers, and none of us We found yours, how


address among her
happen to know it.

ever, and therefore I write to you; indeed, I should have done so in any case, for I feel certain that she would send for you, first of all, if she could. At present she is unconscious, and recognizes no one.

I think her illness began early last week: I remember she said to me that she had been writing you a long letter, and that it had been difficult to finish it satisfactorily ;


My mind seemed all afloat, I could not anchor it anywhere," was her expression. All through the week she was not quite her usual active, cheery self; but she declared positively that she was "not sick, only tired and languid," and as Uncle True's death had left us all in an exhausted and dispirited state, it did not occur to us to be uneasy about her until day before yesterday. Then grandma announced that it was "high time to take her in hand," and did so, administering medicine and forbidding her to leave

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