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Waterloo Bridge, eh!' But he was in error there, for Helen was not the kind of woman to sink voluntarily into any slime, whether that of the dark, flowing river, or the worse moral mire that is wallowed in on city pavements. But her courage was well nigh exhausted, for she had begun to talk to herself of the end, and to whisper lowly, after a mournful mental review of her life's chances, that after all she could but starve, could but lie down, and rest, in the grave where the weary are at peace. These were easy words to say, easier than if the woman had ever tried to do, that which it gave her so small a pang to contemplate; but the truth was that the poor creature wanted rest. She was tired of the rough way that through weary months she had been treading; and to sleep, even though that sleep should be her last, seemed the sweetest boon for which her soul was thirsting. Doubtless, physical weakness had some share in producing the utter discouragement so foreign to her normal state of feeling,
for she had not tasted food for hours, and had walked many a mile that day; no wonder then that looking out upon life from beneath her temporary shelter, the prospect seemed charged with gloom.
So lost was she in melancholy reverie (un. .. inviting as the mental occupation seemed), that she did not notice the advent of a second person, who, driven like herself by stress of weather, had taken up his station under the arch, and stood motionless beside her. A few minutes passed away, and then the gentleman (for he seemed one) bent forward to see if the violence of the storm had abated. Then Helen saw his face! Saw that it was Philip! Changed and aged, but still Philip, still her early love, still the friend most dear to her!
Let her be forgiven-poor way-worn wanderer that she was—for the wild throb of joy that vibrated through her heart-strings. She was so world-despised, so entirely friendless, and cold and hunger were gnawing at the
springs of life. He was married-she knew that he was his wife's—and would not have appealed to him in his home for help; nor have written to tell him of her sufferings. But he was near her now—was within the reach of her hand, and the hearing of her softest whisper. She held her breath as she leant forward, and that breath came thicker still, as Philip, tired of waiting, took one step out into the still heavily falling rain. And could she let him go thus? Go, without a word, a touch, a look of recognition and of kindness? Ah, no! for the love of the days gone by she could not; and so, with a wild beating at her heart, she stepped towards him, and laid her thin hand lightly on his arm. He looked round quickly.
‘Philip,' she whispered, and her voice was so changed and weak, that at first he failed to recognize it. It was like the dream of a tone that he had heard in days gone by, or as a sound of music to which he could give no name.
"Oh, Philip,” she said again, “do not you know me? Can it be that you have quite forgotten Helen Langton ?'
Forgotten her? No, indeed, and a thousand times, no! Does a man ever lose the memory of the one woman who has loved him only as he is, and not for what he has; loved him, not as the man by whose instrumentality she has escaped the stigma of old maidism, and risen to the dignity of wife and matron; loved him, not for his position, but for himself; not for his purse, but for the vows he swore to her? No, though years had passed away, and though her cheek was hollow, and the lustre of her eyes was dimmed, Philip had not forgotten Helen Langton, and so he whispered to her as, pressing her cold hands in his, he poured forth words of tender pity.
"My poor girl,' he cried, 'how ill you look and altered! Who has been cruel to
Who, indeed! Who but you, oh, selfish
man, who having found a pearl of price-a lovely flower, blooming in obscurity, never thought to ask yourself whether the
• Pearl has less whiteness,
Because of its birth :
For growing near earth ?' That gem might have been set among the jewels of your family, to add lustre to the glory of your ancestry; that flower might have been transplanted, to flourish and bring forth blossoms in a kindlier soil; but, instead, you flung the pearl away; and, by the wayside threw the faded flower, robbed of half its sweetness. And now, after a long season, you have found that flower again, but so trampled on and crushed, that you scarcely knew it for the blooming thing you had once worn proudly on your heart.
But what joy it was to her to hear again the sound of loving words, only those can know who have pined beneath the heart's starvation. To her wretched attic room she took him; and there, clad in the miserable