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employer never attended to business, laid down his pen, and stared at her. The tired woman turned from those not very respectful-looking young men, discouraged and heart-sick; but before the green door closed behind her, she was recalled by a question from the oldest of the clerks:
“Would she leave a message? Could he be of any service to her?" And he winked a knowing wink at his companions.
Helen thanked him, but she would leave no card, nor was her business one of importance; and so she left them. The young men of business commented on her anxious, eager manner, and on her pale, but still lovely face; and one of them + he' of the knowing wink suggested that it was à case of 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. Met dit now i
So lost was she’ in melancholy reverie (uninviting 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!
anlaista radi 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. T 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,
him only as he is, and not for
she stepped towards him, and laid her thin hand lightly on his arm. He looked round quickly. 16.3 1“Philip, she whispered; and her voice was 180 changed and weak) - that at first he failed to recognise 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 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 you?”, - 15
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 garments that made her seem so unlike the Helen of former days, she poured forth all her history. And when her tale was told, she learnt from the man against whose breast she leaned that he, too, had known sorrow, and, looking into his worn face, she saw its traces there.
Very rude had been the winds that had blown over that blighted flower; and hard enough, God knows, had been the hearts of those who, seeing it deserted and forsaken, had passed it by unheeded; but Philip had found again the frail and fragile thing, and, taking it to his bosom, gave it warmth and shelter.
Helen never lived with Thorleigh at the old Abbey, nor did the dread faces ever frown upon
her from the oaken panels, but she was with him always, if not in bodily presence, in the heart and in the spirit. And he told her all his grief, and the burthen of shame that had been laid upon him, and she (and in his heart he blessed her for it) would not believe in Gertrude's
guilt, nor would allow that his case was a hopeless
sjoentis !! Does this unselfish love seem an impossible thing to those who watch jealously over the affections of those in whom their own is gamered up (as it seems to them) for ever? Do they say that this woman could not have defended the wife, had she truly loved the husband --- could not have pleaded for the children, had her heart been devoted to the father? 1
If there be women who argue thus, the answer is, that they have never loved as Helen loved." The days of wild and all-engrossing passion were over, and with them that portion of love which is selfishness, had passed away for ever. She saw him often listless, careworn, and discontentedor. She felt herself insufficient to supply all the cravings of the heart that pined for the children he had lost, and for the quiet, respectable home-happiness which, as life wears on, is so precious to men who have this world's goods to enjoy, and to leave behind them. * Oh; poor, imprudent women! ye who think all of the joys of the moment, and nothing of the middle and of the old age, when the passions of most men grow weak, and when you, who have been only a pastime and a source of momentary enjoyment, become, at the best, but a poor substitute for the legitimate interests which alone men really value, how melancholy is your lot! How often must you have to dwell with bitter sorrow for the changed and moody brow, and, perhaps, for the angry and disrespectful word! How often' must you say to yourselves, “Would that I had not sinned! Would that I were not despised!".
Such trials as these, however, did not fall to Helen's