• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Hard-boiled eggs
 The rose show
 Lance Rutherford
 "Not unselfish!"
 Dulcie and Tom
 Was it a warning?
 "In the hour of triumph"
 Fallen!
 Sympathy
 "God bless you!"
 A shock
 "Golden steps"
 Advertising
 Back Cover
 Spine






Title: Dulcie Delight
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00086497/00001
 Material Information
Title: Dulcie Delight
Physical Description: 96, 16 p. : ill. ; 19 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Chappell, Jennie, 1857-
S. W. Partridge & Co. (London, England) ( Publisher )
Gilbert & Rivington ( Printer )
Publisher: S.W. Partridge & Co.
Place of Publication: London (9 Paternoster Row)
Manufacturer: Gilbert & Rivington
Publication Date: [1890]
 Subjects
Subject: Young women -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Christian life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Clergy -- Juvenile fiction -- England   ( lcsh )
Temperance -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Courtship -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1890   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1890
Genre: Publishers' catalogues   ( rbgenr )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by Jennie Chappell.
General Note: Undated. Date from BLC. Inscription on flyleaf dated Dec. 12th 1890.
General Note: Publisher's catalogue on 16 p. at end.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00086497
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002223695
notis - ALG3946
oclc - 63093452

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 1a
    Front Matter
        Page 2
    Frontispiece
        Page 3
    Title Page
        Page 4
    Table of Contents
        Page 5
        Page 6
    Hard-boiled eggs
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
    The rose show
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
    Lance Rutherford
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
    "Not unselfish!"
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
    Dulcie and Tom
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
    Was it a warning?
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
    "In the hour of triumph"
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
    Fallen!
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
    Sympathy
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
    "God bless you!"
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
    A shock
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
    "Golden steps"
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
    Advertising
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
    Back Cover
        Page 113
        Page 114
    Spine
        Page 115
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"OH, MR. RUTHERFORD, WILL HE DIE ? "--Page 48.


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DULCIE DELIGHT.









BY

JENNIE CHAPPELL,
AUTHOR OF "HER SADDEST BLESSING," "FOR HONOUR'S SAKE," ETC.










A?
Itt..


LONDON:
S. W. PARTRIDGE & CO.,
9, PATERNOSTER ROW.


---- ---























CONTENTS.





CHAPTER I.
PAGE
HARD-BOILED EGGS 7

CHAPTER II.
THE ROSE SHOW 16

CHAPTER III.
LANCE RUTHERFORD 22

CHAPTER IV.
"NOT UNSELFISH 28

CHAPTER V.

DULCIE AND TOM 36

CHAPTER VI.

WAS IT A WARNING?. 42

CHAPTER VII.

"IN THE HOUR OF TRIUMPH" 49


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FALLEN !



SYMPATHY



"GOD BLESS YOU!"



A SHOCK



GOLDEN STEPS"


Contents.

CHAPTER VIII.



CHAPTER IX.


CHAPTER X.



CHAPTER XI.



CHAPTER XII.


PAGE
S 56



S 64



72



8



. 87






















DULCIE DELIGHT.




CHAPTER I.

HARD-BOILED EGGS.

A FRESH, fair summer morning; dewdrops sparkling
by myriads on the close-cut lawn; the new-blown
bells of purple and pink convolvulus garlanding the
trellis in the heyday of their short-lived loveliness ; a
baby breeze softly stirring the lace curtains at the
open breakfast-room window, and bearing on its
wings the perfume of mignonette.
Major Delight, ruddy from recent ablutions, his
white hair and moustache bristling with matutinal
vigour, and the stiffest of collars lacerating his double






8 Dulcie Delight.

chin, bustled into the room in very squeaky boots.
He briskly pulled out a chair, plumped himself down
on it, and drew it close to the table with the air of a
man about to make a ferocious attack upon the
eatables spread before him. The major's digestion
was perfect, and he was always ravenously hungry
for his earliest meal.
Smash went the top of egg number one. Boiled
hard. The Major set it aside and helped himself to
another. Again did he find the white solid, and the
yolk powdery. An exclamation of impatience burst
from his lips, for hard-boiled eggs were his especial
aversion. Snatching a third, he reduced half the
shell to fragments at a single blow, only to find the
contents in the same condition as those of the others.
This time, I regret to say, the egg flew out of the
window, to the great astonishment of the original
proprietor, who was calmly picking up invisible crumbs
just underneath ; and, striding to the door, the Major,
who disdained the use of bells, roared "Jemima!" at
the top of his voice.
A light footstep in the corridor above, and a little
figure, that looked in its dainty robing of pink zephyr
like a living rose, came skimming down the shallow
stairs, and folded the Major, rage and all, in a fond
embrace.
"What is it, dear? What's the matter ?" asked
this fearless fairy, gently pressing the irate old gentle-
man back into the apartment he had quitted.
"Eggs spoilt again-uneatable-abominable !






Hard-boiled Eggs.


gasped the Major. "That good-for-nothing idiot of
a girl shall bundle out of the house, bag and baggage,
this very hour. She does it out of sheer wickedness.
Je-! "
But a small, soft hand pressed upon his lips pre
vented the imperative syllables reaching their proper
conclusion.
It wasn't her fault, father-not this time, really."
"It never is, in your opinion. I tell you, Dulcie,
the girl isn't worth her salt! We've kept her too long
already."
"She isn't very bright, poor thing," admitted Miss
Dulcie, who had by this time got the purple-cheeked
officer into his chair again, and was holding him down
(as she verily believed !) by the irresistible weight of
her own small person upon his knee. But you say
yourself, sometimes, that you do believe she tries her
best--"
Stuff and nonsense I tell you I shall give her a
month's warning to-day."
"No, you won't!" returned the young lady,
calmly; for as soon as you leave off frowning, and
give me a sweet, 'good-morning' kiss, I'll explain
how it happened about the eggs, in such a way that
you won't even say a single word to Jemima about
them when she brings in some more. I should be
afraid to ring for her while you look so terrible."
Dulcie gazed straight into the Major's wrathful
blue eyes as she uttered this artful "knight's move"
proposition; and he, gazing back, forgot his anger in







10 Dulcie Delight.

the loveliness of her bewitching face. A softly
dimpling face it was, with an undeveloped, slightly
turned-up nose, wide-opening, nut-brown eyes, a
nimbus of bronzy hair, and the crimson lips and
cheeks of sea-shell pink that so often accompany the
same.
"That ever I should have lived to see myself under
a woman's thumb in this way!" groaned Major
Delight. "And such a thumb he added, glancing
down in mock disgust at the member in question,
short and rosy, that grasped his coat-collar. Well,
ring then !-I'm desperately hungry-and let's hear
what excuse you can make for the careless hussy."
"Why," said Dulcie, skipping away to obey this
behest, and then seating herself behind the urn, "she
had just put the eggs in the saucepan when Miss
Pryce's maid came to the door-you know what a
tongue she has got-and Jemima couldn't get away.
She--"
Dulcie was here interrupted by the entrance of the
subject of her remarks, who, guessing what was
the matter, marvelled somewhat that she should be
allowed to take her order and escape, figuratively
speaking, undevoured.
"You know Miss Pryce herself called last evening,
while we were out, and wanted to see you on some
very particular business. Now, first thing this morn-
ing she sends round again to ask if you will be dis-
engaged and can see her in private between ten and
eleven."






Hard-boiled Eggs.


"In private! What in the world is in the wind,
Dulcie ?"
"Nothing that will spoil by waiting, I hope!"
observed the young lady, sugaring the Major's coffee
with a lavish hand. I couldn't find you anywhere,
so I sent word that you were very sorry-that was
right, wasn't it ?-but that you would be compelled
to leave by the 9.25 train for London, a business
appointment, but that you would be at home after
six this evening." -
"Yes, that will do. What can she want with me,
though, Dulcie? Has she received an offer of
marriage, and wants my advice, or blessing, upon it ?"
"Wants you to give her away, perhaps! laughed
Dulcie.
"Ah well, so long as I am not asked to part with
anything of my own I don't care. One can afford to
be generous with other people's property, and I'd
officiate at any number of such ceremonies with the
greatest of pleasure. I should cut up pretty rough,
though, I warn you, missy, if called to give up my
own special belongings."
He nodded suggestively across at his daughter with
mischievously twinkling eyes. But Dulcie did not
blush. Her long, brown lashes drooped however, as
she answered in a low and rather grave voice, "I
don't fancy you are likely to be asked, father, dear;
at least, not by me."
What's that thing I see sticking out of your apron
pocket ?" demanded the Major, suddenly.






Dulcie Delight.


The dimples deepened a trifle round Dulcie's
mouth, though she tried to pull them straight. Only
a note from Tom," she answered.
Ha Only Tom. Of course I may read it ?"
"There's nothing in it-much !" averred Dulcie,
peering into the depths of the cream-jug. He says
he is coming down to the rose show this evening."
"Hum !" commented the Major, and his eyes
twinkled more than ever from among the laugh-
wrinkles by which they were surrounded.
Papa said Dulcie, hastily; if you don't hurry
now you'll certainly lose that train. I'll get your hat
and brush it for you, to save time."
So saying she left the table, pausing, as she passed
to the door, to drop a kiss on the middle of the
Major's bald crown from behind.
An hour later Dulcie Delight was standing by the
kitchen table, with a pretty holland apron neatly
buttoned around her trim figure, for the daughter-
housekeeper of a half-pay officer could not afford to
leave all domestic work to others. She was cutting
French beans into dainty slips, and dropping them
into a basin of water-an occupation which, if I re-
member rightly, has received honourable mention at
the hands of England's most popular essayist.
"Papa was dreadfully vexed about the eggs this
morning, Jemima," she said, in perhaps too con-
ciliatory a tone, as that young woman passed her for
the twentieth time. She had been trying to make up
her mind to this formidable duty of expostulation for

















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"YOU HAVEN'T CUT YOUR FINGER, SURELY MISS !"-Page 14.






14 Dulcie Delight.
the last ten minutes. "You really should not have
stood gossiping with Alice, you know."
I couldn't get away from her, miss, and that's a
fact," answered Jemima, glibly. And knowing how
upset-like Miss Pryce seemed last night, I thought I
might hear something, perhaps. Alice is full of it."
"You should not listen to tales, Jemima," returned
Miss Dulcie, with praiseworthy self-denial. "Alice
has no business to talk about her mistress."
"No, miss," rejoined the unabashed Jemima. "But
Mr. Rutherford looked that 'eavenly on Sunday night,
that I said to my-a-someone who was setting' by
me, I says 'He ain't long for this world!' You
haven't cut your finger, surely, miss !"
No; at least, it's nothing !" answered Dulcie,
applying her handkerchief to the wound. I can't
think what you are chattering about. What has Mr.
Rutherford got to do with Miss Pryce coming here
last night ? "
Why, miss, Alice says Miss Pryce went round to
the Purkiss's after tea, to take a few things, and found
poor old Purkiss seemingly fighting for his life-they
never thought he'd have lived through the night,
miss-and so she started off straight for Mr. Ruther-
ford, to fetch him to him. And she came back, Alice
says, in about ten minutes' time, and walked straight
in, and went and sat herself down in the parlour like a
stone, she did. And her face, Alice says, were as white
as chalk, and her eyes sort of wild and glaring like.
It give Alice quite a turn, she says, for to see her "






Hard-boiled Eggs.


Whether it was the effect of unconscious sympathy,
or of the cut finger, it is impossible to say, but
Dulcie's own fair face took on, while she listened,
some faint resemblance to Jemima's description.
"Wasn't Mr. Rutherford at home, then ?" she
queried, in a voice sharpened by the smart of her
wound.
"That's what Alice says she asked her directly,
miss; and Miss Pryce she sat and glared, and
clenched her hands, she did, and never said a word.
And then she jumped up all of a sudden, Alice says
and came off here."
And didn't go back to the Purkiss's ?"
"No, miss. She sent Alice round to them to say
as he couldn't come. And Alice says, miss, that she
were a-stomping about her room, up and down, up
and down, half the night, like one demented "
"Toothache, probably!" said Dulcie, lightly.
"You shouldn't listen to such gossip, Jemima; it is
very foolish. I must go and find some rag for my
finger. It is worse than I thought."


















CHAPTER II.

THE ROSE SHOW.

THE evening sunshine poured a slanting flood of
ethereal gold full down the dusty main street of Little
Dytton, as Dulcie Delight and her cousin, Tom
Hannaway, slammed behind them the latched gate of
Sandown Cottage, and turned their steps towards
Lynborough Park. He, clad in grey tweed, carried
his hands in his pockets, and a cigar in his mouth;
while she was attired in cloudy flounces of embroidered
muslin, with a dark-lined hat shadowing her delicate
face, and a coquettish lace sunshade balanced jauntily
across her shoulder.
"The Fern Lane way will be the nicest, won't it ?"
suggested Dulcie. "It is so dusty here."
I'm not going any Fern Lane way, to be stung
to death by gnats !" returned Mr. Hannaway, with
decision.
"Oh, no; I forgot. They tease you so, don't
they ? And there are so many of them always under






The Rose Show.


the trees. Then if we go by the road," added Dulcie,
"would you mind waiting two minutes while I call
and hear how poor old Purkiss is ? I won't ask you to
come in with me, because I know you can't bear the
smell of the cottagers' places ; but he was thought to
be dying last night, Jemima says ? "
"We are late as it is," objected Tom, pulling out
his watch. Can't you see after old Purkiss another
time."
I might come down to-morrow," said Dulcie.
How is the new minister going on ?" asked the
young man, after a pause.
Oh, splendidly I did wish you had been with
us on Sunday evening, Tom. The chapel was
almost full. Father and Mr. Wynston are quite
excited about it. Some people had walked from
Dorrington to hear him, and were pleased beyond
measure."
He won't stay here long," quoth Tom Hannaway,
oracularly, as he removed his cigar from his lips to
flick away the ash
Why not ?"
He'll be called to a 'larger sphere of usefulness,
and a fatter purse."
"Oh, Tom, I don't, think Mr. Rutherford is one of
that sort !" cried Dulcie, deprecatingly. I mean I'm
sure he wouldn't go. He seems so really spiritual;
you can't fancy him caring a scrap for money. And
I'm sure there is plenty at Little Dytton for anybody
to do."






18 Dulcie Delight.

"What sort. of a preacher is he? Practical, meta-
physical, lofty, or racy, or what? "
"Really, I don't think I could classify him,"
laughed Dulcie. "I only know how he affects me.
Listening to some ministers makes me feel like a little
fish in a glass tank-I'm always sorry for the poor
little things, they look so wistful !-longing for more
room, feeling somehow that there ought to be more
room, seeming to see it around me, but never able to
get at it to enjoy. But listening to Mr. Rutherford is
like swimming in the sea-no barrier, no limit, no
tantalizing walls, but infinitude stretching about me
on every side."
The right sort of man to hear on a warm day, I
should think observed Tom, looking down at the
girl's glowing face with a quizzical air. In all the
years of their acquaintance, which were just as many
as of Dulcie's life, he had never heard her speak out
in this way before. I must run down from Saturday
to Monday one of these weeks, and hear him my-
self."
I wish you would, Tom I'm certain it would do
you good. He is getting an influence over some
awfully wild young fellows about here."
Thank you, Dulcie! Your inferred compliment
is most gratifying."
"Oh, Tom, dear!" cried the girl, in dimpling
penitence. You know I didn't mean it like that.
Everybody knows you are as steady and good as you
can be. But you would like Mr. Rutherford, Tom."






Tke Rose Show.


Very lovely was Lynborough Park, with its richly-
verdant slopes bronzed in the westering sunshine.
This evening it was gayer than usual, for a large
white tent had been pitched near its grandest group
of elm trees, and the flower-like summer dresses of
numerous ladies flitted hither and thither, in brilliant
contrast to the green.
"Oh, Miss Pryce!" exclaimed Dulcie, quickly
espying and hastening to meet a plain, earnest-look-
ing elderly lady in spectacles. "How are you ? I
am so sorry father could not see you, either last night
or this morning. You won't be offended, will you, at
his not staying in for you to-day? But he was-"
"Don't mention it, my dear," interrupted Miss
Pryce. Business must be attended to."
He is at home now," said Dulcie. If he could
still be of any service to you-"
But again Miss Pryce broke in with a rather short
"No, thank you. It doesn't matter now."
"I'm so sorry!" repeated gentle Dulcie. He
would have been so very glad, I know, to help you if he
could."
"I did not want help. I tell you it doesn't
matter now. I have changed my mind. I believe
in the providence of circumstances, Dulcie, and when
I have twice been hindered from carrying out a pro-
ject, I think perhaps it is the Lord's will that I should
give it up, at least for the time. How did the sing.
ing-class go off last night?"
"Quite merrily again. There were seventeen
B 2






20 Dulcie Deligt.

children present, two of them new ones. And they
entered into it with right good spirit. There seems
to have been a sort of brightening up in every branch
of our work since Mr. Rutherford has been with us.
Don't you think so, Miss Pryce? I believe his
personal influence is singularly great."
Miss Pryce made no reply, and had not Dulcie
been so sure it was a mistake, she would have fancied
that her companion uttered instead a stifled groan.
Inside the tent the air was warm and damp, and
loaded with the perfume of a thousand roses, while
footsteps fell noiselessly upon the thick carpet of tan,
and the strains of a string band upon the fern-
bowered platform drowned the hum of many voices.
They were all represented, the royalties of Flora's
domain-deep, rich yellow, and waxen pink; velvety
crimson, with shadows almost black, creamy tea-
scented, glowing red, and vestal white. Some
clustering in bunches, some half-veiled in moss; these
tastefully arranged in a pretty basket, those set off to
admirable advantage in a crystal vase. All so per-
fect, so stainless and flawless, that someone was heard
to pay them the paradoxical compliment, One can
scarcely believe they are real! "

Queen rose in a rosebud garden of girls,
Queen rose and lily in one."
These not wholly apropos lines flashed spon-
taneously into the mind of one of the visitors, as he
saw the laughing face of Dulcie Delight lift itself






The Rose Show.


from inhaling the scent of a 'sheaf of "Gloire de
Dijon and dusky "Charles Lefevre."
He was a tall young man, about twenty-six years
old, well-made, but slight. His large grey eyes were
set deep in their arched orbits, his features thin, and
almost too finely cut. His broad, white brow,
shadowed by masses of dark hair, his mobile lips,
his slim, nervous hands, all betokened a temperament
of mingled sensitiveness and intellectuality. He
seemed keenly alive to all that went on around him,
and though talking earnestly to Mr. Wynston, plainly
showed by his quick glances hither and thither, and
the sharp turn of his head, that other things were
not lost upon him.
"There !" whispered Dulcie, suddenly touching
Fom Hannaway's arm, "That is Mr. Rutherford.
He is looking across at us now. I will introduce
you when he comes this way."


















CHAPTER III.

LANCE RUTHERFORD.

MR. RUTHERFORD did not appear anxious to move
in the direction of our trio of friends-for Miss Pryce,
Tom Hannaway, and Dulcie Delight still kept
together. He even seemed endeavouring to remain
as far away from them as possible. Once, when the
thickening crowd impeded his progress they came
pretty close upon him; but without appearing to see
them, he turned abruptly round, and soon contrived
to put a score or so of people between himself and
them. Dulcie thought this rather odd. Tom didn't
notice it; but Miss Pryce set her firm, straight lips
together, seemed absent in manner, and looked like
a woman who has made up her mind.
"What a lovely tune they are playing now !" said
Dulcie, presently. "Listen, Tom; isn't it sweet ? "
I don't know, I'm sure," answered Mr. Hannaway,
indifferently. "I only know it's precious hot in here.
I'm getting stifled."
"Let's go nearer to the door," suggested Dulcie.






Lance Rutherford. 23

"I'm tired rather, but I'm not too warm. We
might, perhaps, get over to those chairs-there are
several empty. There would be a nice air there, and
we could listen to the band."
"I shall clear out altogether," announced Tom,
coolly ignoring several modest hints in Dulcie's
speech. Come along! We have seen all there is
to see. I hate being jammed in this fashion."
"We are going outside now," said the girl, turning
back to Miss Pryce. "Tom can't bear the heat.
We women have the advantage of being able to wear
muslins, you see. Will you come too?"
Miss Pryce pushed before her, and did not answer.
Tom Hannaway and the Rev. Lance Rutherford
had come suddenly face to face. From behind a tall
centre-piece the latter had heard the preceding
remarks of both the young lady and her cavalier.
The gentlemen were now staring at each other, Tom
with some curiosity, the young minister with scarce
concealed disgust.
"Good evening, Mr. Rutherford !" exclaimed Miss
Pryce's determined voice, as she pressed to the front.
I am glad to have reached you at last, for I want a
few minutes' conversation with you."
Her tone was peremptory, perhaps more so than
she had intended. Dulcie, looking at her, with some
surprise, saw that she appeared unusually pale.
Mr. Rutherford, on the contrary, was colouring
painfully, while he grasped the lapel of his coat to
stay the visible trembling of his disengaged hand.






Dulcie Delighl.


"I-I-with pleasure, Miss Pryce," he faltered.
How do you do, Miss Delight ?" (turning hurriedly
to Dulcie). "We have a fine display here, have we
not ? "
"It's lovely," she answered, adding, "This is my
cousin, Mr. Tom Hannaway, from London."
They formally shook hands. Then Mr. Rutherford,
in a low tone, asked Miss Pryce if they could talk out
of doors. She agreed, and they left the tent to-
gether.
When Tom and Dulcie emerged into the open air,
having been delayed a few moments by meeting with
other friends, the first pair were nowhere to be seen:
"Queer start, that, rather, wasn't it ?" observed
Mr: Hannaway, re-lighting his half-burned cigar.
It did seem funny for Miss Pryce to call him aside
like that. She is rather odd in her ways ; but a good,
sterling creature, all the same," said Dulcie.

The little white daisies were all shut up, and the
flute-voiced blackbird was chanting his evening song
in the top of the tallest elm, when Miss Pryce shook
hands with Mr. Rutherford at the park gates.
He held her bony fingers long and closely. His
stately head was bowed.
I thank you again, most gratefully," he said, in
subdued accents, for the generous, the noble manner
in which you have behaved. Yours has been truly
Christian conduct."
"Don't thank me," returned Miss Pryce, gruffly.






Lance Rutherford.


"Thank the Lord, Who mercifully hindered me from
carrying out my first intention. As for this conver-
sation, no one but He and our two selves need
ever know of it. You may trust me, Mr. Ruther-
ford; and," she concluded, impressively, "I trust
you."
God helping me," he said, husky with emotion,
"your trust-His trust-shall never be betrayed."
On reaching his home-a tiny five-roomed cottage
bowered in jasmine and clematis-Lance Rutherford
threw himself into the one arm-chair the little parlour
contained, and for a long time sat motionless, his
head drooping upon his hands, his elbows on his
knees. Though he did not kneel he might have
been at prayer, for a deep sigh, or a few half-audible
words, now and then burst from his lips.
The gloaming shadowed into night, the dim
blue-grey of the cloudless heavens deepened into
purple, the geraniums in the little front garden turned
black, the nemophilas paled to spectral white, the
rising moon shot a gleam of silver radiance upon his
bent head and the thin fingers buried in his dark hair;
and still he did not stir.
A bustling tap with the almost simultaneous
opening of the door, and an elderly female voice ex-
claimed, "What! sitting here all in the dark, sir ?
Have you been long in ?"
"I hardly know; I've been meditating," replied
Mr. Rutherford, rousing himself. "It has been a
lovely day for the Rose Show," he added, as if anxious






Dulcie Delig t.


to divert attention from more personal matters. "I
was glad to see you there, Mrs. Butler."
"Yes, sir, I managed to run down for half-an-hour.
I got my niece to mind the house for me. And
well worth seeing it was, to be sure! I do think they
get it better and better every year."
"Indeed observed the minister, rather absently.
Mrs. Butler, a spare, tidy-looking woman, in a
white, full apron, and black "half"-cap, was mean-
while lighting a strongly-smelling paraffin lamp, and
pulling down the blind; Mr. Rutherford watching
her with a far-away look in his deep eyes. Her next
remark, however, brought him into the present again.
And what a picture the Major's daughter-Miss
Dorothy-was, to be sure! And she's as sweet as
she's pretty, bless her! Mr. Hannaway's a fortunate
man, and no mistake."
"They are engaged?" questioned the young
minister, flashing a quick glance into her face.
"Well, I suppose they are, sir, though it has never
been made public like," returned Mrs. Butler, care-
fully smoothing out her glossy table-cloth. But it's
nothing but natural that they should make a match
of it, seeing as they've been like brother and sister all
their lives. Bread-and-cheese and a glass ot stout,
to-night, sir ?" she broke off to enquire, "or will you
have a sardine?"
Yes, you can bring in the sardines, please. But-
I-er-I think I'll try a cup of cocoa."
Haven't a mite of cocoa in the house, sir," Mrs.






Lance Rutherfora.


Butler informed him. And by this time 'the shop
will be shut up. Would you like a cup of coffee, sir,
or tea ?"
I should not get to sleep till it were nearly time
to wake up, I'm afraid," he replied, with a smile.
"No, I'll ask you to bring me a glass of water, please."
"There's nothing but rain-water, sir, and it is not
very clear."
Never mind; bring it in," said Mr. Rutherford.
Then returning to the former topic he resumed:
" You have known both Miss Delight and Mr. Hanna-
way a long time, I suppose? "
"Oh, yes, sir. I was housemaid there when Mrs.
Delight was alive. I remember Miss Dulcie when
she was a little thing no higher than the table. Her
rightful name is Dorothy, you know, sir, but when
she first began to talk she couldn't say it properly,
and called herself Dulcie, or what sounded like it, until
everybody got to take it up. It's a pretty name,
don't you think, sir?"
"Yes; very pretty."
When Mrs. Delight was alive-she died seven, it
must be eight, years ago next Hallowe'en-Master
Tom used mostly always to spend his holidays here,
and he and Miss Dulcie were never apart; and they
do say, sir, that more marriages come about through
constant companionship than almost anything else."
Very probably," Lance Rutherford agreed.





















CHAPTER IV.


NOT UNSELFISH !"

MR. RUTHERFORD felt "Mondayish,"-tired, de-
pressed, and so irritable, that the voices of half-a-dozen
children at play in the lane beside his house exas-
perated him almost to the degree of putting his head
out of window and peremptorily ordering them off.
He realized with a mixture of rebellion and self-
contempt, that every week seemed to find him
plunged more deeply in this condition than the last.
His sermon of the previous evening-indeed both
his "yesterday's discourses-had been unusually
powerful. He knew that in himself, even had not
the moved faces of his audience revealed it. The
chapel had been very full. Strangers from Dorring.
ton on the one hand, and Kingscombe on the other,
came continually to hear him ; such times, he learned,
had never before been known at Little Dytton. His






Not Unselfish! 29

subject, whatever it might be, seemed to lift him up
When he came into the presence of those waiting
souls; it took possession of him and carried him out
of himself. Speech flowed spontaneously, ideas
leaped forward clothed in fitting words that had
scarcely occurred to him while tamely studying at
home; every fibre of his being thrilled, every vein
glowed with a glorious, I had almost said an intoxi-
cating sense of freedom and force. His, he felt, was
the grandest of themes, and something whispered
within him that he was on the way to becoming one
of its grandest exponents.
But following these seasons of excitement came
the invariable reaction. The triumphant wings that
had cleft the heavens, and borne aloft many a way-
worn pilgrim, dragged limply in the dust. Effort
seemed futile, success hollow, faith an empty name,
and God far away. The deadly common-place of
Monday morning crushed the minister's exhausted
spirit, and found him caring less about his work and
his success, even feeling colder towards his Master,
than the least spiritual among his flock.
But this, of which I am about to speak, was
Monday afternoon. Surely he ought to be more in-
dustrious now I He would go and visit somebody;
yes! the walk might do him good. He closed the
book he had been stupidly trying to read, threw back
his arms, yawned a tremendous yawn, shivered a
little, frowned a little, buttoned his coat, put on his
hat, and went out; turning quickly from the gate






Dudcie Delig ht.


that he might not have to call up a smile for any of
those racketing youngsters in the lane !
Sandown Cottage was about a hundred yards
further up on the other side of the way; but, of
course, though Major Delight was his principal
deacon, he had no intention of calling there.
As he approached the house, however, he observed
signs of commotion. The front door stood open;
the Major, scarlet with passion, was holding by the
collar a small and ragged boy, whose basket of
plaster images indicated his business. Behind the
Major, and if truth must be told, tugging violently at
his coat-tails, was the scarcely-visible form of Dulcie,
her sweet face puckering with distress, her brown eyes
full of tears. Upon the boy's shoulder and basket
were smears of green colour, while a coating of the
same partially covered the dirt on his left hand;
and had examination been made, damaged spots of
corresponding area would have been discovered on
the newly-painted gate. Hence the Major's wrath.
You good-for-nothing little scamp," roared the
old gentleman, "you did it on purpose! Couldn't
you see 'Wet Paint' chalked on the step as plain as
the nose on your face ? I've a great mind to send
for a policeman and have you locked up !"
Perhaps he can't read English," suggested Dulcie.
"That is more than probable, I think," observed
Mr. Rutherford, who had approached the group, while
the boy's dark face turned pale at the evidently com-
prehended allusion to a policeman.






"Not Unselfis "


The Major's hand relaxed its grasp. This idea
had not occurred to him before. "Can you read
English, boy ? he demanded.
"No-no Me no Inglesi !" returned the child.
Poor little fellow He doesn't even understand
you! cried Dulcie. Oh, daddy darling, you
wouldn't have been cross to him if you had known.
Let me take him round to the kitchen, and give him
something to eat."
Well, do as you like, child," said Major Delight,
considerably cooled down, and a trifle humiliated by
his discovery. "Come in, Mr. Rutherford It is well
that we should see each other in every aspect, and
you've caught a glimpse of my seamy side to-day."
"Your bark, I doubt not, Major, is worse than
your bite," returned the young minister, hardly
knowing what to reply. "And it is provoking
to have new work spoiled."
"My little girl will more than make up for her
father's hastiness," said the old gentleman, with a
return of his usual sunny smile. Not that I want
to excuse myselt. I've been a Tartar in my day, Mr.
Rutherford, and grace has got tough work with me,
yet. But what I should be without that child of
mine, the Lord only knows."
"I should think she is a very unselfish nature,"
responded Mr. Rutherford, anxious to say something
just warm enough, and not too warm.
"Unselfish !" the Major's merry laugh rang out.
"She has no self. She lives in others. Some folks-






32 Dulcie Delig~t.
saints they are often called-stifle their wretched
self, chain it, beat it. You can hear its fetters
rattle as they move, and discern its groans through
the very music of their hymns. They are unselfish.
Dulcie makes joy and basks in it. She is the hap-
piest creature living, and the freest. She is no more
unselfish than the sun that shines. But there the
Major suddenly broke off, "I'd better stop. Pardon
a father's foolish rhapsody., When you have such a
daughter as Dulcie you'll understand my feelings.
We had a splendid gathering last night."
So they thereupon drifted into a conversation upon
topics presumably more in accordance with the
minister's tastes than the foregoing eulogy on the
character of Miss Dulcie Delight. But he was not
too much absorbed in the Major's account of the
circumstances which had led to his own union with
Dissenters, to note that the Italian boy presently
passed the window, with radiant face and lightened
basket, munching a huge sandwich of bread and meat.
The young lady, however, did not reappear, and
Mr. Rutherford, in his present mood, beginning to
feel considerably bored by his host's prolix reminis-
cences, rose to take his departure.
In the hall, they were joined by Dulcie. Wouldn't
Mr. Rutherford like to go out the other way, and
walk through the garden ? "You have never seen
our garden," she said, "and all the beauty will be
over soon, now."
He consented with alacrity,-the Major, not pre-
























iWi



;I~I









Cil







II ilip








"ALL TOO SOON WAS THE POSTERN DOORWAY REACHED.--Page 34-
C






Dulcie Delighl.


cisely to his regret, remaining indoors,-and, with a
small, soft-robed figure at his side, passed out of the
back porch into the open air.
How peaceful was the old-fashioned garden on that
quiet October afternoon Its broad green lawn and
molsy paths, its trim box-trees with their long, still
shadows all sleeping in the hazy sunshine. The aro-
matic odour of burning faggots stole upon the senses
as the blue smoke from a neighboring cottage
floated lazily upwards, and the only sound stirring
was the soft swish-swish of the gardener's broom
as he swept up the crisp dead leaves. Dulcie's voice,
as she lightly chatted of this and that-telling how
many roses the Mareschal Niel" had borne, pointing
out the carven date upon the old oak, showing where
the robin's nest had been-seemed quite in harmony
with the gentle sweetness of the autumn day. A
wondrous calm and soothing fell upon the young
man's fretted spirit as they loitered round. Life once
more seemed worth living. His mental sky was clear-
ing, and its sun shone brightly out. The walk, as he
anticipated, had doubtless done him good!
All too soon was the garden and orchard traversed,
and the postern doorway reached. Not until Mr.
Rutherford held out his hand to say "good-bye"
did Dulcie summon courage to reveal what had been
in her heart when she invited this tite-a-tMte.
"Mr. Rutherford," she began,with wistful eyes raised
to his face, then suddenly let fall, "you won't think
badly of papa because of-of what.you saw to-day?






" Not Unselfis "


Oh, no!" he assured her. "My esteem of the
Major's sterling worth is too great to be disturbed by
such a trifle."
"You've no idea how sweet he really is!" con-
tinued the girl, earnestly, "so tender-hearted and
kind. I knew he was longing to do something for
that poor boy, that was the reason I suggested what
I did. Those little outbursts are not father at all,
only his temper. He himself is just as good as ever
he can be."
"And your mission in life is to keep that real self
uppermost-to draw the good to the surface?"
suggested Mr. Rutherford, smiling.
Yes, like cream !" assented Dulcie, with a rippling
laugh. Mr. Rutherford thought it the prettiest laugh
he had ever heard.
What will he do when he loses you ? asked the
minister, still lingering at the gate, and looking down
at her rose-bud face.
He never will lose me," said Dulcie; I could
not leave my father for anything."
There were neither down-cast eyes nor deepening
of colour as she spoke. Her little hands-both ring
less-were clasped upon the gate-post. The next
moment Mr. Rutherford held one of them in his, as
she simply said, Good-bye."
Good-bye!" he responded, and homeward turned
with a strange buoyancy uplifting heart and mind.



















CHAPTER V.

DULCIE AND TOM.

" WELL, what do you think of him ? "
Such was Dulcie's question, as she and Tom Hanna-
way disentangled themselves from the crowd that was
streaming out of Little Dytton chapel, and made for
the middle of the hard, white road.
It was a Sunday evening early in January. The
heat of the densely-packed and gas-illumined building
accentuated the keenness of the air without, where,
high up in the blue-black infinity of space the small
round moon shone with piercing brilliance, as though
it were the source and heart of the bitter frost that
was holding the earth in bonds of steel.
"It's a fine night," said Tom, instead of answering
her question. Let's go home the long way round."
The wind is cold," suggested Dulcie, holding up
her muff to the cheeks which "rude Boreas" was
stinging with his sharp salute.
"Never mind that. We are well wrapped up,"






Dulcie and Tom.


returned Mr. Hannaway, carelessly. I have not had
five minutes alone with you yet, Dulcie !"
The girl made no response to this assertion; she
was busy re-arranging the hymn and chant books,
three in number, which seemed bent on pushing one
another from the shelter of her arm.
This hindered her so that Tom got several paces
ahead; but, running to catch up with him, she re-
peated, What did you think of Mr. Rutherford ?"
"Oh, he'll do."
Dulcie's heart, which, for some occult reason, had
worked itself into a sort of flutter listening for the
expected expressions of approbation, sank in unmis-
takable disappointment.
"You never saw our chapel so full before," she
rejoined.
"No. He seems to draw. People like that sort of
thing, I suppose."
What sort of thing? What do you mean?"
questioned Dulcie; I'm sure it was all beautiful! "
Why, making out that it's selfish to be thankful for
our mercies; when we've been taught all our lives
that gratitude to think that we have got so many
more of this world's goods than certain other folks, is
our most becoming frame of mind. I'm sure I never
enjoy the comfort of a good great-coat so much
as when I see some poor wretch shivering in rags."
That would take all the comfort away from me,"
said Dulcie. I should be feeling their coldness all
the time instead of my own warmth. That's why






Dulcie Delighl.


what Mr. Rutherford said to-night helped me so.
And he didn't say we ought not to be thankful, Tom.
He said that the most acceptable gratitude to God
cannot be satisfaction that He has favoured us more
than others-that we have received His bounty while
our neighbours have been neglected ; but to believe in
and be thankful for His love to all, whatever their
outward circumstances may be. I'm so glad," con-
tinued Dulcie, warmly, that he said that. For, next
time I feel miserable because I hear of any one being
very unhappy, or very poor, and can't help them, I
shall think to myself, 'Well, after all, God loves them
quite as much as He does me, and is doing the best
for them, and perhaps comforting them in some way
that I can't see ; and when it is quite the right time, He
will give them as much happiness as they can hold.' "
Everybody isn't such a little angel as you are,
Dulcie, my dear," began Tom, with a sentimental air,
for they were by this time alone in a narrow, moonlit
lane. "I don't have any such sweet thoughts; but,
perhaps, if I were always with you-"
Dulcie, however, had an invincible objection to
being called an angel, and was meanwhile asking what
Tom thought of Mr. Rutherford's appearance ; didn't
he look nice in the pulpit ? For this was the first
time Mr. Hannaway had seen the young minister in
that elevated position.
He's consumptive, isn't he?" was Tom's counter
query. His great hollow eyes and thin nose give
him a wonderfully owlish cast of countenance."






Dulcie and Tom.


"Owlish I" And Dulcie had been thinking she
had never seen a more spiritual face. "He is not
consumptive," she said. But Dr. Tonnick says his
mind is too much for his body; and his sermons do
take it out of him, tremendously. You see, they are
not common-place-just pieced together from com-
mentaries and books-but all his thoughts are his
own, and he gets so excited over their delivery. Why,
papa says that very often when he goes into the vestry
after the evening service, he is trembling so he can
hardly hold a glass of water to his lips And he is
never able to get up to breakfast on Monday morning.
Papa sent him a dozen of first-rate old port for a
Christmas present. It was just like the darling! But
that goose of a Miss Pryce-she's a very strict
teetotaler, you know-talked as if he had done some-
thing dreadful. Quite disrespectful to Mr. Rutherford,
I thought it ; as if he could not be trusted !"
Now all this rippling gossip about Mr. Rutherford
and his peculiarities was not only utterly uninteresting,
but tiresome to Tom, who wanted to get Dulcie upon
quite a different topic of conversation. So, as soon
as he could conveniently break in upon it, he asked,
in a tone of patient resignation, whether she could put
the minister and Miss Pryce, and all the rest of them
out of her thoughts for five minutes and listen to him.
"I've been ever so long waiting for an opportunity,"
he said, of saying something of more importance to
me than all the affairs of all the Little Dytton people
put together. Dulcie, I'm very unhappy."






40 Dulcie Delight.
Oh, Tom, dear," was the sympathetic response
" I'm so sorry "
Yes, things are now fast going from bad to worse.
Mrs. Mumby has let her drawing-room floor to a rich
old lady, who can pay for any amount of extras, and
the parlours have to sing small. Day after day is my
breakfast cold or my dinner not ready for me, because
my hours for meals happen to clash with those of the
all-important drawing-room. And when I complained,
she cut up quite rough, and showed off such indepen-
dent airs."
I wonder she isn't afraid of losing you."
I have reason to believe that the old lady has
expressed a wish to have a pet nephew-of hers under
the same roof with her; and he would, of course,
occupy the rooms I now hold. But whether or no,
stay there I can't The old girl keeps a parrot that
shrieks like a railway-whistle, and a cat that comes in
and smothers my things with white hairs, and a little
wretch of a dog who has taken a violent dislike to me,
and barks himself into fits whenever he hears me come
into the house. In short, things have come to such
a pass that, considering my Christmas rise, I think it
is high time we settled down in a cosy little home of
our own."
We !" gasped Dulcie, with such a start that the
hymn-books leaped into a neighboring ditch.
Yes, to be sure, my darling I You and I. I leave
it for you to 'name the happy day,' but suppose we
say in a couple of months' time from now ? "






Dulcie and Tom.


"Oh, Tom! I-never thought you meant that! "
"Why-Dulcie What? Hasn't it always been an
understood thing ?" cried Tom, in his turn startled now.
"I never understood it so," returned Dulcie, with
white face and trembling lips. "Oh, Tom, we have
been like brother and sister all our lives-it can't be
anyhow else now!"
"But, Dulcie, I've always intended to marry you.
I thought you knew that. What else do you suppose
I have been coming backwards and forwards for
all these years ? You must have known it, Dulcie I"
"We-we've never been engaged," she faltered.
If by 'engaged' you mean you have not had a
ring, I'll soon mend that. I'll bring one down next time
I come. You ought to have had one before, of course.
It is my fault. Which do you like best, dear, a cluster,
or a diamond solitaire ?" pursued Tom, boldly.
"Oh, no, neither, thank you! Really, Tom, it is
very, very kind of you, but--but I can't marry you."
"Dulcie! How can you treat me so!" cried the
disconcerted youth. "After leading me on as you
have, and everybody taking it for granted that it was
all settled, and the good chances I have lost for your
sake. I might have been married, and well married
too, over and over again. You can't mean it, Dulcie!
I won't believe it. I shall bring you a diamond ring
next.time I come down. You are mine, my Dulcie.
We are engaged!"
He sought to draw her to his side, but she burst
into tears.




















CHAPTER VI.

WAS IT A WARNING?

THE morning rose keen and bright. The full red
sun glowed through a white fog, but the sky in the
zenith was clear and blue. Every fence and railing
was encrusted with transparent hoar; not a twig or
grass-blade but was set about with a fairy chevaux-de-
frise of icy spikes; not a leaf but was daintily out-
lined with crystal fringe and clothed with a sparkling
frosty bloom. Even the tarpaulin-covered waggons
that were plodding along to the market town were
white as sugared buns. It was just the morning to
set young blood effervescing and young feet dancing
on the dry, firm ground.
But Dulcie Delight, walking on an unnecessary
errand to Kingscombe, that she might not be
expected to see Tom off at the station, neither
danced nor effervesced, though under ordinary con-
ditions she would have been the first to be ex-






TFa s it a a-n in,,-?


hilarated into a frolicsome mood by such weather as
this. Sedately she walked, with inelastic step, and
her eyes--heavy and dark-rimmed by a sleepless
night-were bent upon the road beneath her feet.
"Poor Tom!" she was thinking. "I suppose I
have not treated him as I ought. I suppose it was
wrong of me to let him come here, and go about with
him and all, as I did. But being a cousin and
having gone on in that way from a child, I never
thought he might have a notion of anything else.
Papa must have had, though, for he has always rather
teased me about Tom. But then that's just his way !
Oh, dear, I'm afraid I've been very stupid, and blind,
and ridiculous and I've gone and spoilt somebody's
life. But, no! I must not let it be spoilt-that
would be too dreadful! I must marry him-of course
I must !-if it is to make him happy. Poor Tom, as
he said this morning, he has never had much happi-
ness. He's never known the comfort of a real home;
losing his parents so young, and preyed upon by un-
feeling lodging-house keepers ever since he was a
boy. I wonder, as he says, how he has borne up as
he has It would be awful of anybody to have it in
their power to make him happy now and not do it.
But, oh, dear! I wish he had fixed upon somebody
else. And yet-and yet-I'm sure I don't know
why I should He is a good, serious-minded young
man, steady, and prudent, and well educated, and-
and everything a girl ought to want. And it isn't, of
course, as if I had ever liked anybody else- !"







44 Dulcie Delhght.

"Good morning, Miss Delight!"
Dulcie's ill-regulated little heart gave a jump that
sent a rush of crimson over cheeks and ears.
"Good morning, Mr. Rutherford," she demurely
replied.
"This kind of weather is quite exhilarating, isn't
it?"
"Yes, quite."
"The skaters will be in high glee if it only lasts."
"I suppose they will."
"Do you skate, Miss Delight ?"
"No, not much."
Mr. Rutherford meditated a brisk hand-shake and
an abrupt turn round the next corner. It was
evident, he thought, that his company was not
desired.
Dulcie, angry with herself for being so stupid-she
always did seem stupid lately when talking to the
minister-cast about in her mind for something
agreeable to say, and presently observed, a trifle
awkwardly, "We are very glad that you are going
to be away next Sunday-at least, I mean we are
glad you are going to Penchester! "
"I dare say," returned Mr. Rutherford, rather
wickedly, for he didn't mean a word he said, "that
my absence, though brief, will be a relief to some
of my congregation. Mr. Walker, who will take my
place, is a first-rate man."
"Oh, Mr. Rutherford, I didn't mean that! We
would rather hear you than anybody else in the






Was it a Warning 45
world I" cried Dulcie, shocked into unnecessarily
emphatic speech. "I only meant that we are
delighted you are going to have such an honour."
"I suppose it is rather a compliment to be asked
to officiate at North Street Chapel, Penchester,"
returned Mr. Rutherford, much more calmly than he
felt. For Dulcie's impetuous warmth of utterance
had set all his veins a-glowing. "It is the largest
place of worship belonging to our denomination, I
understand, for nearly fifty miles round, and one of
the best attended."
He knew, as he spoke, that his words were
prompted by a spirit of vanity, and savoured not of
respect to that honour "which cometh from God
only." If he could have seen what lay before him !
But he nevertheless felt the unthought-of reproof in
the girl's next words.
"How almost overpowered you must feel with
the tremendous responsibility of addressing so many
people she said. "To think that to you it is given
to help hundreds of men and women nearer to heaven
and to God."
It is a solemn trust," he responded. Then, after
a brief pause, sprang almost involuntarily to his lips
the sudden query, "Have I ever helped you, Dulcie ?"
She did not notice that he used her Christian
name, though the next instant his own face was
flushing like a girl's at his inadvertence. Raising
her sweet, brown eyes with earnest gratitude, she
answered-






46 Dulcie Delight.

"Oh, so often-so much!"
The dark-fringed orbs quickly drooped again as
they met the light of radiant joy in his, and Dulcie
toyed nervously with the tassel of her muff.
"Not oftener, or more than you have helped me,"
said Mr. Rutherford, fervently. "Many a time has
the sight of your face been an inspiration to me! "
"I'm-very glad," murmured Dulcie.
The minister was silent, walking close to her side,
with his umbrella carelessly across the shoulder
farthestfrom her, and his gaze bent upon the ground.
Words, tender and impassioned, were struggling for
utterance. Why should he not now, at once, tell
her of the love that had been growing and deepening
in his heart during the past months? He was not
wholly dependent upon his modest stipend, for he
had a small private income besides. He could offer
her a home equal to that she now enjoyed. What
need was there to delay the confession that must
come, soon or late?
Strange, indeed, how small a stone ot circum-
stance will turn aside the wheels of a great event!
"I will wait," thought Mr. Rutherford, "until we
get past the inn. When we are alone in that quiet
bit of road beyond, where the elm-boughs meet
overhead, then-then I will tell her all my heart!"
But the time came when, on his knees, he thanked
God that he had been hindered.
A light spring-cart stood waiting in front ot the
inn. Its sole occupant was a fair-haired child of






Was it a Warning ?


four or five years old. He was standing up and
leaning over the side of the vehicle, playing that he
was "fishing" with a cord tied to a stick. The poor
horse, conscientious, but weary with long waiting,
stood still and restlessly scraped the ground with his
fore-foot.
"That's -Joel Parker's cart and his youngest little
boy," remarked Dulcie; adding, distressfully, "What
a shame it is to keep him there in the cold I
suppose that horrid man is getting too much to drink
again."
"Hardly, so early in the day, I should think,"
returned the minister.
Yet, as he spoke the owner of the trap came out,
not drunk, certainly, if by that we understand help-
less or even unsteady, but simply brutal. Irritated
by the impatience of the hbrse, he sprang forward,
and roughly snatching, with an oath, at the poor
animal's mouth, gave it at the same time a savage
kick.
Startled and exasperated, the creature reared upon
its haunches, and the next moment the pretty child
was lying senseless in the road.
"Madman I" cried Mr. Rutherford, rushing for-
ward, but too late-for it was all the work of a few
seconds-to save the boy. Dulcie stood still for a
minute, transfixed with horror, and then followed
him.
*He gently lifted the little form in his arms, while
the father looked on in dull amaze, sobered, but






48 Dulcie Delight.
stunned, by the awful catastrophe. Dulcie turned
sick at the sight of the golden hair wet with blood.
"It's his head-his poor, dear little head!" she
wailed. "Oh, Mr. Rutherford, will he die? "
"If he does, that brute there" (with a glance of
scathing indignation at the unhappy father) is his
murderer!" cried Mr. Rutherford, his voice quivering
with anger and pain. So saying, he bore the still
unconscious little victim onward to Kingscombe, in
the neighboring suburbs of which town the nearest
surgeon lived.













I -


CHAPTER VII.

"IN THE HOUR OF TRIUMPH."

THE aid of friends and the remorse of the heavily-
stricken father were alike of no avail. The soul of
little Willie Parker had joined the mighty, and, alas,
ever increasing throng of child-martyrs whose inno-
cent young lives have been rendered up unconscious
witnesses to the direful power of the demon drink.
Dulcie stayed awhile with the poor mother. "I
couldn't pretend to comfort her," she said, simply,
afterwards. "It would have, somehow, seemed im-
pertinent-it was so very, very dreadful! But we
just cried together, and I held her hand."
Mr. Rutherford, on leaving the house, caught a
glimpse of the wretched father hovering near, con-
sumed with anxiety to learn the fate of his boy, but
afraid to meet what might prove to be the truth.
Justly angry as the minister had been in the first
moments of the terrible shock, he now could not but
compassionate the unhappy man, and, approaching






50 Dulcie Delight.
him, broke to him the dreadful news; then by-and-by,
he stood by him as he forced himself to gaze upon
the heart-breaking spectacle which his deed had
wrought.
I trust that neither Lance Rutherford nor Dulcie
will be the less thought of by my readers when they
hear that, of the two, the young man was the most
deeply affected by the painful sight which both had
witnessed. Tender-hearted Dulcie's ready-flowing
tears washed much of the horror from her brain. She
was healthy and strong, body and mind, and the im-
pression made upon her by the accident, though vivid
enough for all wholesome purposes, grew fainter day
by day. With the minister, on the contrary, it seemed
to grow more and more intense. His nervous
organism was morbid and overwrought; a condition
partly constitutional, but aggravated by the zeal with
which he had lately been working for a degree, and
the strong excitement which always possessed him
whenever he stood up to preach. Now the face of the
dead child, as it had lain upon his shoulder, seemed
never absent from his sight; and night after night he
woke struggling and trembling from a dream in which
the whole scene passed again before his eyes, and he
vainly tried to reach the horse and man in time to
turn aside the impending catastrophe. Little fitted
was he, therefore, for the unusual effort of the ap-
proaching Sabbath.
The occasion of Mr. Rutherford's invitation to
preach at Penchester was the Church Anniversary,






In the Hour of Triunmph." 5

and he had promised not only to take the morn-
ing and evening services, but also to give an
address to the Sunday scholars in the afternoon. He
feared, beforehand, that such a heavy day's work
would prove too much for him,-but he trusted to the
excitement of the hour to keep him up.
Herein lies the ,key to much- of what hereafter
occurred. No man is justifiedin deliberately under-
taking more than 'he believes he can well carry out.
God has set a limit on the strength of each, saying,
"Thus far shalt thou go, and no farther." It was,
moreover, no sense of duty, even mistaken, which led
him on, but had he chosen to analyse it, almost un-
mixed vanity. Thus, knowing, in his inmost heart,
though he would not confess it, that he was not en-
titled to special help from his Master, we see him
depending for power, as I have said, upon the fleeting
emotions which the occasion would probably arouse
within himself.
Lance Rutherford was a true Christian. It was
pure love and devotion to the Saviour which had led
,him to adopt the ministry as a profession. He at
the outset had no idea of the gift of eloquence with
which he was endowed. He only believed that God
had given him something to say, and that he must
therefore try to say it. That dormant talent proved
his greatest snare. Elated by far more than his
anticipated success, flattered, petted, and seeing him-
self actually, as he imagined, upon the high road to
honour and fame, he forgot his vows at setting out,
D2






Dzucie Dezight.


unconsciously allowed his hand to slip from that of
his Guide, and went on-to his ruin!
Thrilling with nervousness, yet not afraid of failure,
he ascended the handsome pulpit of North Street
Chapel, Penchester, a building five times the size of
the tiny, unadorned edifice wherein he was accustomed
to minister. There was a full congregation of well-
dressed, intelligent-looking people, and he felt that he
would be both understood and appreciated. Nor was
he mistaken. The lively attention with which he was
listened to from first to last-and sensitive as he was
no sign of ennui or disapprobation would have escaped
his notice-assured him that his audience were
abundantly satisfied with the spiritual fare which he
spread before them. His host congratulated him
warmly upon the favourable impression he had made,
and the wife of the former repeated for his benefit
sundry complimentary criticisms which had been
uttered in her hearing. Ministers are but human, and
enticing visions floated on the horizon of his imagina-
tion wherein he saw himself the pastor of as grand a
church as this, and a sweet little woman, with nut
brown eyes and hair, sitting belowin the minister's pew
In the evening the building was -even densely
packed; for the fame of the young preacher had
already spread. And truly, he was the bearer of a
heavenly message for many a waiting soul amid that
throng. God's prophets of old were never sinless men,
but the words they uttered were none the less those
of Divine truth. Mr. Rutherford's sermon on over-







" In te Hour of Triumpk."


coming the world," was the fruit of earnest thought
and heart-felt prayer, and was remembered with
thankfulness when subsequent events were happily
forgotten.
He chose for his New Testament reading the latter
part of the second chapter of Luke's Gospel. Re-
ferring to it in the course of his sermon, he said, One
of our deepest thinkers has asserted that 'one of the
great battles we have to fight in this world' (and he
might have added, 'with the world') 'is the battle
with appearances.' The Virgin Mary had the same
conflict in this respect as ourselves. She found it
difficult to realize the hidden Divinity of the little first-
born son who played about her home ; who loved and
obeyed her; who helped her, doubtless, with her
care of the younger children; who looked so like her
neighbours' sons-but that He was lovelier than all-
with no halo trembling about His head, only the
' grace of God' upon Him, that sweet, human-seeming
beauty, so common, yet so rare, to distinguish Him
from those others of whom He was in truth, the God
and King. The human was all she could see-all
we can see; and like us, she sometimes lost con-
sciousness of the Divine that was, though veiled,
perpetually present. And the continual realization
of, and confidence in the Divine-that endurance 'as
seeing Him Who is invisible'-that triumph over the
misleading look of things, is indeed that victory
over the world to which every Christian is called;
the faith which is,' the substance of things hoped for,







Dulcie Delight.


the evidence of things not seen.' Overcoming the
world," cried the young preacher, his delicate face
alive with expression, his great deep eyes glowing as
he warmed to his subject, "is something greater than
stifling a desire to visit the theatre It is a recogni-
tion of all the glory of this world, in which the inmost
soul has no part, as being hollow and vain as the love,
the mirth, and the grandeur of the tawdry stage. Over-
coming the world has a broader significance than to re-
frain from open homage to Mammon! It means being
able, with joyful confidence, to leave all the welfare
of body, mind, and spirit in the hands of God. Ay,
and more than that !" continued Mr. Rutherford, his
musical voice sinking to tenderness, and even quivering
with involuntary emotion. "It means a comfort-
able remembrance that the hairs of our head are all
numbered, when a limb is disabled, or a sense de-
stroyed. It means an unfaltering endorsement of the
Apostle's assertion that 'all things work together for
good,' when everything seems to be going to the bad
-a happy assurance that no good thing will be with-
held from those that walk uprightly, even when our
most fondly cherished wish is denied. It means a
restful confidence in Him who said I am the Resur-
rection and the life,' when we lay all that we can see
of our dearest in the cold dark tomb. Away with
the narrow, shallow, puerile pietism which would tell
us that 'overcoming the world,' and being, 'not con-
formed to the world,' is just keeping away from cer-
tain places of amusement, avoiding particular styles







" In the Hour of Triumph."


of dress, eschewing personal adornment, refusing to
read this or that class of current literature Let the
weightier matters of the law be first attended to, and
such trifles as these will come right of themselves.
He who willingly tithes the corn in his ten-acre field,
will not grudge the herb in his kitchen-garden."
A promising young man-an exceedingly pro-
mising young man," remarked one "pillar of the
church to another, as the congregation slowly moved
in a mass towards the doors. He has an uncommonly
fine voice, and knows how to use his hands."
"And he gave us thoughts, didn't he? That's
what we want !" added another, warmly. "It was a
truly spiritual and ennobling address. I believe that
the power of the Lord went with it, and that His
blessing will follow."
"The young man has doubtless a career before
him," rejoined the first speaker, with the air of an
experienced critic. "Possibly, if he does not later
on spoil his style by mannerisms, a great career."
Meanwhile, the subject of these commendations sat
pale and faint in the vestry arm-chair. His grand
effort over, his forced strength suddenly collapsed,
and he was now scarcely able to reply to the con-
gratulations of sympathising friends. He knew that
the whole day, and this evening in particular, had
been a success. But he little thought that in
preaching his finest sermon, he had also preached his
last.




















CHAPTER VIII.

FALLEN!

MR. RUTHERFORD spent Saturday and Sunday
nights at the house of a friend; at three o'clock the
following afternoon the funeral of little Willie Parker
was to take place, and he, of course, must get back to
Little Dytton to officiate threat.
It is no exaggeration to assert that he had never
dreaded anything so much in his life. The child had
been a favourite of his, the circumstances of its death
were so terrible, and, as I have already explained, the
impression made upon his own mind thereby, so
vividly painful. Moreover, he was of an extremely
sympathetic nature, and he foresaw that the emotions
of the parents at the grave-side must be more than
usually agonizing. But above and beyond all this,
was the inevitable reaction from Sunday's excite-
ment and the anticipatory tension of the previous
week. These various conditions combined, it is






Fallen I


not surprising that Lance Rutherford awoke on
Monday morning with the already well-known
symptoms of nervous exhaustion intensified beyond
anything he had hitherto experienced.
On appearing at the breakfast table he looked
as he felt, thoroughly ill. His host, Mr. Greening,
and his wife, were much concerned, especially when
it appeared that he was also unable to eat. And
his explanation that he never ate till past noon on
Monday by no means reassured them. He was to
return home by a train leaving High Street,
Penchester, at about half-past eleven, but Mr.
Greening, being compelled to attend his office at ten,
would be unable to accompany his guest to the
station. Leaving hospitable injunctions, therefore,
with his wife, to see that Mr. Rutherford had
a substantial lunch before starting, he bade the
latter a cordial and grateful farewell, expressing
earnest hopes that at no distant date they would
enjoy the benefit of his ministrations from North
Street pulpit again.
It was a keen, bright morning, much resembling
the corresponding day of the week before. The hoar
lay white on roof and fence, and between the rocky
ridges of the frost-bound road. The sun glared on
and on from a cloudless sky, yet all the while, when-
ever one listened, could be heard the low incessant
moan of the snow-bringing wind. That sound
seemed to affect Mr. Rutherford .with unspeakable
melancholy. Like all sensitive souls, he was greatly






Dulcie Delight.


subject to the influence of nature, and her varied
aspects of gladness or grief never failed to strike
within him a sympathetic chord. That scarcely
audible, yet unremitting wail, with the frozen dazzle
all around, seemed to him as the ceaseless ache of a
lonely heart amid scenes of unpitying mirth. It was
a hard, heartless sky that smiled down on so sad world
-a world of sin and sorrow, of tears and funerals and
graves I He tried to pray, for himself and for that
darkened home whence soon the little coffin would
pass out. Yet he who had spoken but a few hours
before, with radiant face and almost seraphically
shining eyes, of the glorious faith which triumphs
over saddest seeming, could now scarce bring himself
to believe in a God at all; and he found it easy to
imagine that the only answer that came back was the
hollow echo of his own cry, sounding from the empty
blue vault of heaven above!
For a couple of hours he sat by the fire, pretend-
ing to read, for Mrs. Greening was too wise a woman
to tease him with talk. Then was brought in on a
tray a tempting little repast of cold chicken, to be
followed by a glass of excellent wine.
Mr. Rutherford had not tasted wine for
years-that which Major Delight with such kind
intention sent him had been given away, a bottle here
and another there, to the sick poor among his flock.
But now he mechanically ate and drank what was set
before him, living in anticipation the tragic scene
in which he would be called to take part.






Fallen !


"You look dreadfully cold, Mr. Rutherford,"
observed Mrs. Greening, as he stretched his pale
hands once more towards the blaze, ere finally
buttoning up his great-coat to depart.
"I always feel the cold a good deal," he replied,
"and it really is very severe to-day."
"Now, take my advice, Mr. Rutherford," said the
good woman, and have just a nip of something warm
before you venture out! My husband always
does."
"No, indeed! No, thank you," protested the
minister; "I require nothing of that kind."
Yes, but do," insisted his hostess, touching the
bell. Hot water shall be brought directly, and I
will make you a glass precisely as Mr. Greening has
it. I am sure you need something to warm you; it
is, in your state of health, essential, and you may
ward off a serious chill."
I-really I-you are extremely kind hesitated
the young man. "But-"
"Now, Mr. Rutherford," interrupted Mrs. Greening,
with a benevolent smile; I am quite old enough to
be your mother, and I insist upon your taking a
glass of good toddy to brace your nerves before you
leave this house. I am not accustomed to being dis-
obeyed."
To "brace his nerves"! Sure enough he needed
that. Despise himself for it as he would, mentally
branding himself weakling and coward, he was unable
to stay the horrible thrilling of every fibre of his being,






60 Dulcie Delight.

as he thought of the duty he was going to perform.
He craved that temporary insensibility to such
sensations which he believed the dose of alcohol
would bring. He yielded, and the toddy was made.
You must regard it as a glass of medicine," Mrs.
Greening said.
He drank it, bade her good-bye, took up his port-
manteau, and passed into the frosty air.
How gay and glad was the sunshine 1-the moaning
wind he no more heard. After all, there was a great
deal of comfort in the world; and as to the sorrow,
what need to think of that till one is obliged ? His
limbs no longer trembled, he was scarcely conscious
of movement, he progressed, but felt as if he were
walking on air.
For a few minutes. Then an unpleasantly dazed
sensation came over him; the light was blinding,
the houses and shops seemed swimming past him in
a dream. Had he taken a wrong turning ? He did
not remember that church, that lamp in the middle
of the road. He stumbled awkwardly against
an old gentleman-how could he have done it?
Surely this pavement was wretchedly uneven! Was
he going the right way for the railway station or not ?
The town was large and he had never been in it
before. He would ask some one to direct him when
this stupid dizziness went off, and he could clearly
explain where he wanted to go- !
a
Dulcie Delight, too, had been spending a few days






























































"I INSIST UPON YOUR TAKING A GLASS OF TODDY BEFORE
LEAVING THIS HOUSE."-Page 59.







Dulcz'e Defig1h/.


away from home. Friends at the county town had
long been wanting her to pay them a short visit,
desiring that it should include a Sunday, the only
day when one of the daughters, who was a weekly
boarder at a school, would be at home to see her.
Hitherto she had made excuses; but the occasion of
Mr. Rutherford's absence from Little Dytton was at
last selected by her for gratifying their wishes.
She planned to return on the Wednesday-so as
not to miss the week-night service, which she had
latterly attended with great regularity. Being left
to herself for a few minutes after breakfast on the
morning of that day, she took out and read her cousin
Tom's last letter-a somewhat gushingly worded
epistle in answer to the communication promised,
subject to further consideration, when they parted, as
to the exact size of her finger and the kind of
engagement ring she would prefer. Hearing foot-
steps approaching however, she slipped it into her
pocket again, and took up the paper.
It was that day's issue of the tri-weekly Slough-
borough Intelligencer, and Penchester, Kingscombe,
Warcliff, Dorrington, and Little Dytton Gazette.
Indifferently she glanced up and down the columns
until, with the sensation of an electric shock, the
following item met her eye: "THE PASTOR OF A
CHURCH CHARGED WITH DRUNKENNESS.-Lance
Rutherford, aged twenty-six, of extremely respectable
appearance, and described as a minister of the gospel,
was charged with being drunk and incapable in






Fallen 63

Willow Street, Penchester, in the forenoon of Monday
last. Police-constable Mathews deposed to finding
the prisoner leaning against the side of a gate-way at
75, Willow Street, where he narrowly escaped being
knocked down by a horse and van, which was in the
act of coming out. The defendant, who evidently
felt his position keenly, was fined five shillings, the
Rev. James Hardy, who was among the sitting
magistrates, commenting severely upon the discredit
which such characters are likely to bring upon the
cause of religion."



















CHAPTER IX.

SYMPATHY.

MAJOR DELIGHT was at Kingscombe Station-that
being the nearest to Little Dytton on the line which
also touched Sloughborough-to meet his daughter
on her return, but was not prepared for the white face
and horror-darkened eyes with which she hurried to
join him.
"Papa, papa!" she eagerly queried, below her
breath, almost before his kiss had left her lips, It-it
isn't true ? "
"What, my darling?" was his counter-question.
How should she have learned the shocking news ?
"About-Mr. Rutherford !" she whispered, glanc-
ing around to assure herself that there were no
listeners. Haven't you heard ? "
"How did you come to know anything ?" asked
the Major.
"I saw it in to-day's paper. Oh, papa-!"
"In the paper cried the old gentleman, aghast;






Sympathy. 65

"It's worse than I thought. Why, in the name of
everything, didn't the fool hush up the reporters ?
Oh, dear, dear There goes my temper again. But
when one thinks of it- Do you mean to say his
name has actually gone forth to the world in connec-
tion with such an affair ? "
"'Yes, or how should I have known ?" answered
Dulcie, sorrowfully. "Papa, what will b do ?"
"We don't know yet; it is impossible to say. I
fear he is a ruined man. Those Greenings at Pen-
chester have much to answer for, if his version of the
affair be true-and we've not the slightest reason for
doubting his word; a man of any duplicity would
at least have withheld in such a case his real name.
But the poor fellow casts not a shadow of blame on
any one but himself."
"You've seen him, then ?" said Dulcie, quickly,
"Where is he. now?"
Here, at home. I went and fetched him from
Penchester myself. Kerslake the miller chanced,
strangely enough, to have been in court at the hearing
of the case, and he telegraphed at once to me. Else
I verily believe, Dulcie, we should never have seen or
heard of Rutherford again, except, indeed, his body
had been found in the Rush !"
Dulcie gave a sort of sob, and hid her face in her
fur boa. Controlling herself presently by a tremend-
ous effort-they were now passing the inn where
Willie Parker met his death-she asked, "Does he
seem to feel it so very much ?"






Dulcie Delight.


"I never saw a man so thoroughly crushed in my
life, and never wish to again," replied the Major. "He
is simply prostrate with the disgrace, and the thought
of the harm that may result. He went to bed directly
I got him home, and to-day is not able to rise-
though a night in a police-cell, such weather as this,
is enough to make any man ill, not to speak of one
of his physique."
"Did they--put him-in-a cell?" faltered Dulcie,
with swelling, aching heart.
Why, yes. It was some hours before he slept off
the effects of-of what he had taken. And he refused
to send for anyone to offer bail. There was no
alternative."
Again there was silence. Dulcie was squeezing
the fur into her eyes and mouth, while, holding her
father's arm, she hastened her steps to correspond
with his, for it was beginning to snow. Each falling
flake might have been either a rose-leaf or a brand
from a furnace and she would not have known it; her
whole consciousness was absorbed in passionate,
grieving, tender sympathy for the fallen idol-the
human soul that lay bleeding among the jagged rocks,
on which, from the height of honourable eminence, it
had so cruelly been dashed.
"Papa," she said again, in a low, strained tone,
"you will stand by him, won't you? You won't
condemn him, whatever others do ?"
"As to that, my dear," replied the Major, "I shall
endeavour to act, first of all for the welfare of the







Sympaahy. 67
church which has suffered so heavy a blow, and
secondly for the good of the unhappy young man
himself. Whatever extenuating circumstances may
be connected with the case, and however keen may
be his personal suffering, we cannot deny that Mr.
Rutherford has shown most culpable weakness of
character, and proved himself altogether unfit for the
sacred charge entrusted to him."
They had reached home. Dulcie would have gone
straight to her own room, snow-laden as her garments
were, had not Jemima stopped her to ask if she
would not first have them shaken and wiped down.
Ain't it awful about Mr. Rutherford, miss ? the
girl began, as she performed this service. Of course
your pa's told you ?"
"Yes," answered Dulcie, wearily.
I never could have believed it of him, could you,
miss ? But it only shows we don't know nobody, as
the saying is. And there's as many Judases about
now as ever there was. He'll get no quarter, though,
I should think, from the gentlemen at the chapel."
"We must not be hard, Jemima," said Dulcie, still
struggling with that tiresome convulsion of her throat.
She was holding by one of the cloak-pegs in the hall
while undergoing the rubbing-down process, with her
forehead leaning against her hand and her face turned
away from the maid.
"Why, no, miss, but they do say, you know, as it
ain't the first time, which makes it all the worse."
"Who says so ?" queried the young lady, quite






Dulcie Deliokhl.


sharply, and presenting a flushed and indignant coun-
tenance to Jemima, who did not fail also to detect
thereon the trace of tears.
"Well, miss, it was Alice at Miss Pryce's told me.
Miss Pryce herself let out, somehow, when she first
heard of this affair at Penchester, that it wasn't the
first. And Alice says she's as sure as can be that
that was what was the matter that time last summer
-you remember, miss-when she came round for
master in such a tearing hurry, and him and you
was both out. You may depend upon it, miss, he's
been in the habit, and his sin has found him out at
last 1"
"I don't believe it-I don't believe a word of it!"
exclaimed Dulcie, hotly. "You're a downright
wicked girl to think such things. And if you go
spreading such cruel, false reports, and-and injuring
him more, when he suffers so much already, it-it
will be very wicked of you "
With this somewhat feeble anticlimax, Dulcie
broke from the maid's still busy hands, and rushing
up stairs, took refuge in her own room, and slammed
and locked the door.
Oh-oh-oh !" she cried, like one in bodily pain,
as she flung herself face downwards on her bed,
clutching the counterpane by handfuls in her agony.
" Oh, God, pity him-help him i Oh have mercy
-have mercy upon him. Oh, that it should have
come to this-Lance-Lance "
What a terrible, mysterious thing is sympathy !













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I L '


" WE MUST NOT BE HARD, JEMIMA," SAID DULCIE.-PaJ 67.






Duicie Delzigt.


How seldom does it exist; how vastly different is it
from the mild commiseration-costing nothing to the
giver, benefiting little enough the recipient-which
often goes by that name. Dulcie Delight, prone
among the pillows in the privacy of her own chamber,
shaken with silent sobs, herself felt every pang that
thrilled the stricken soul of the young man lying
sick and lonely a hundred yards away. Though she
had not seen him since his terrible fall, she knew him
even better than she ever dreamed. She thought of
the fearful contrast between the place of honour
which he filled on Sunday night and the walls of
infamy that closed around him twenty-four hours
later; she saw him in the pulpit, she saw him in the
prisoner's dock She beheld, with shuddering, that
stately figure helpless-reeling, dragged off by police-
men. Oh, it was too horrible She tried in vain
to close her mental eyes to the pitiful, heart-break-
ing scene. She was with him in imagination when
he awoke from his stupefying sleep and became
conscious of his surroundings ; she bowed her shamed
head with his beneath the magistrate's stinging cen-
sure. She saw-ah, keenest pain of all !-the banner
of the Cross, which he had vowed to raise, trailed
by hirfi in the public mud, beneath the feet of a
derisive crowd.
Did I say she felt with Lance Rutherford in every
point ? Nay, there was one bitter element in his cup
of retribution of which she did not guess-the involun-
tary thought of what the impression on her would be






Sympathy.


when she came to learn the truth. His degradation
in her eyes came next in horror to the conviction of
his guilt in the sight of the Master whom he had
betrayed. Yet, amid all, he felt truly thankful that
he had been withheld from confessing his love to her.
Had they not reached the inn that day in their walk
so soon, or had they been permitted to pass beyond
sight of it before the accident occurred, it was possible
-just possible-that she might now, by reason of a
new relationship to him, be the object of public com-
miseration, and in some sense a sharer in his dis-
honour. To have won her, to have disgraced her,
and to have been cast from her with the scorn and
loathing which he owned were only his due, that
throb of anguish he had at least been spared; but
he judged even this to be greater mercy than he
deserved.


















CHAPTER X.

"GOD BLESS YOU "

A CHURCH-MEETING was specially convened to dis.
cuss the painful topic of the minister's moral over-
throw, and the resignation which he had already
handed in.
You will be present, of course," said Miss Pryce
to Dulcie, on whom she was making a call on the
afternoon previous to the date fixed for the said
gathering.
I think not," returned Dulcie, quietly.
"Oh, but, my dear, on such a very important
occasion I think it is the duty of every one to attend.
And there has been a special whip-up of members.
It is so particularly desirable to have as large a meet-
ing as possible, that the opinion of the church may
be fairly represented."
It seems tolerably unanimous, as far as I can hear,"
observed Dulcie, with an unwonted bitterness in her
voice.







" God Bless You!"


"Well, yes, so I believe. I don't fancy there will
be much dissension on the subject."
You think they will let him go ?"
I have no doubt of it. I don't see how any other
decision can be expected under the circumstances."
"No, under the circumstances, truly!" agreed
Dulcie, with a strange smile, as she -drove the poket
energetically into the centre of a block of blazing
coal. "Seeing how terribly his fall-a real fall, a
stumbling over an unsuspected danger-has already
been punished, the shame, the ignominy that he has
endured, and his present crushed and prostrate con-
dition, I suppose the only course which a virtuous
set of people can take is to give him a parting kick!
If he had merely exhibited an overbearing and
captious spirit which made it almost impossible to
work with him-like some I could name !-or shown
a greed after money, or omitted to pay his bills, or
any little trifle of that kind, which didn't happen to
bring his church into public disrepute, Christian love
would overlook it, and scarcely ask for reformation !
Almost any sin, or sinful habit of life, so long as it was
concealed from the eyes of the world, might be excused;
but open degradation !-that can only be degraded
the more."
Miss Pryce was astonished. It did not seem like
gentle, sunny, ever-sweet Dulcie, who had thus been
speaking, with a hard, strained voice, and cheeks
that flamed redder at every word, while she stabbed
and beat and reduced to fragments those unoffending






Dulcie Delght.


lumps of coal. When she had finished she put down
the poker noisily, and sat herself back in her chair
with something approaching a bounce, her little hands
clenched, her lips pressed together, her chest heaving
convulsively with suppressed emotion.
"You see, my dear," said Miss Pryce, "it is not as
if it were his first slip. Months ago, when he took a
dose of spirits, as he said, to relieve neuralgia, and I
happened-fortunately !--to be the sole witness of its
lamentable results, he appeared as truly ashamed of
himself as he does now. But had his repentance been
sincere, he could not possibly have allowed himself so
to err again."
Dulcie was silent, staring with set eyes into the
fire, but the buttons on her dress still rose and fell
tumultuously.
"I was near-very near-informing the deacons
then of the circumstance. I at first thought it my
duty to do so, but ultimately had a very serious talk
with Mr. Rutherford himself, instead. He said then
that he had no idea that alcohol would produce upon
him so speedy and violent an effect; it never used
to do so, he said, prior to a certain severe illness
which he had a short time before coming here. He
attributed it to some consequent weakness, but
promised never to touch the stuff again. You see,
he is not to be depended upon."
"Perhaps," suggested Dulcie, rather brokenly,
"he thought he had grown stronger by this time."
He is not to be depended upon," repeated Miss






" God Bless You "


Pryce, "which goes against him more, if possible,
than the sin itself; though that, considering the dis-
honour brought upon his Christian profession, and
the opportunity given to unbelievers to revile, is
terrible to contemplate. I feel sorry for the young
man, of course; his talents make his fall the sadder ;
but when he says, as he does, that he feels himself
to be totally unfit for the sacred work on which he
entered, I cannot but agree that he speaks the truth.
I suppose," added the lady, rising to depart, that if
you do attend the meeting to-night, it will be for the
purpose of giving your vote against the acceptance of
Mr. Rutherford's resignation ?"
"I shall not be there-I could not bear it! the
girl replied. "It would do him no good, either;
except-I shall ask papa to send home for me if
there is a tie, and a casting-vote is required she
concluded, with a hopeless sort of smile.
It was an unnecessary precaution. The majority,
who in all good conscience, were of Miss Pryce's way
of thinking, nearly trebled the dissentients. The
withdrawal of the Rev. Lance Rutherford from that
pastorate was accepted, with regrets.
"I called in upon him to tell him the result," said
Major Delight, at supper time, for of course he was
not present himself."
"Did he seem at all surprised?" asked Dulcie,
toying with the one small biscuit upon her plate-she
had no appetite that night.
"Not a bit. He was evidently quite prepared







Dulcie Delik-ht.


for it. He only wondered, he said, that there should
have been any opposition whatever. He goes to-
morrow."
"Goes? Where?"
"To London, I suppose; he has connections
there."
"And you have promised to go to Sloughborough,
to-morrow, haven't you ? I mean," continued Dulcie,
with her eyes downbent upon her plate, and her white
forehead growing pink beneath its shadowy waves of
nut-brown hair, "I mean-will you be back in time
to-to see him off? "
"I'm afraid not. He will leave somewhere about
twelve o'clock, I think he said-there's a through
train straight for Euston, you know, about that time.
The sooner he gets clear of Little Dytton, now, the
better he'll like it, I fancy. It's a sad thing, very
sad, and so all the friends felt it, I'm sure, after the
hopes that had been entertained about him, But we
shall get one of the good old-fashioned sort next time,
I trust-your high-flyers are not the safest or best."
Does any one else know he means to leave so
soon ? "
"I think not. He wants his departure to be as
unobserved as possible, no doubt. If that before you
is cornflour pudding, my dear, I'll trouble you for a
little."
The next morning was dull and sad, weeping steady
tears from a sky of low-hung grey. Major Delight,
however, started, as projected, for Sloughborough,






"God Bless You! "


soon after breakfast. He was an active man, and
generally contrived to have business on hand which
demanded frequent journeys to neighboring towns.
"Do you think it will clear up?" asked Dulcie,
following him to the door.
"Not much prospect of it at present!"
Dulcie sighed a very small sigh, watched her
father's broad, mackintoshed figure out at the garden
gate, and then turned to the hall barometer-an old-
fashioned dial.
She tapped it wistfully, but the hand only jogged
sullenly from the N to the G of CHANGE, and
once more she scanned, with almost beseeching eyes,
the riftless leaden cloud.
Ten, half-past ten, the crucial eleven o'clock passed
without hope of betterment. But at twenty minutes
past eleven Miss Delight came down the stairs ready
dressed for walking.
You're never going out such weather as this, miss!"
cried the astonished Jemima.
"It won't hurt me. This cloak is absolutely
waterproof," returned the young lady, with quiet
decision. "I'm going to Kingscombe by rail to match
the silk for my screens. I shall be back quite by one."
So saying, she put up her umbrella and stepped
daintily out on the sodden gravel path. When the
garden gate had clicked behind her, she turned with
nervous eagerness in the direction of the station,
first casting one swift glance backwards to a certain
little corner cottage some hundred yards away.







Dulcie Deligt.


Little Dytton station was the picture of deserted-
ness that soaking January morning. Not a living
creature was visible. The rain, now coming down
faster than ever, made quite a mist between the
opposite platforms, and great drops of water splashed
heavily from the vandyked border of the wooden
roof. After hunting up a porter, and ascertaining
from him that she would have five-and-twenty
minutes to wait for a train to Kingscombe-the next
one being for London, direct-Dulcie turned into a
waiting-room to pass the tedious interval with as
much patience as she might-not a vast amount, to
judge by the fretting of her teeth upon her rosy
under-lip, and the restless tapping of her foot upon
the floor.
She tried to amuse herself by reading a time-table,
but the entertaining information therein contained
was not sufficient to keep her from starting and
listening intently at every sound at all resembling
footsteps in the sloshy road at the back.
Presently there was a noise of an arrival, and a voice,
masculine, speaking in the adjoining office. Dulcie's
breath came quick, and the colour deepened on her
cheek. The next minute the door was pushed open,
and Mr. Rutherford appeared upon the threshold.
There he suddenly paused, seeing Dulcie, and
stood as though undecided what to do, his head
slightly bent, his hand still on the handle of the door,
while a painful flush dyed the pallor of his thin face.
The girl thought she had never seen so pathetic a






"God Bless You! "


look before-humble, deprecating, yet half appealing,
as though he did not know whether she would deign
to speak to him, and could not bear to go without a
word.
Dulcie, however, soon solved his doubts by rising
and cordially holding out her hand. How are you?"
she asked, with deep concern scarcely hidden in her
trembling tone.
Pretty well, thank you," he conventionally replied.
But the unutterable sadness of those dark eyes that
shunned hers, the listless droop of the once stately
form, the air of conscious unworthiness which his
whole bearing expressed, cut her to the quick. Oh,
that he had been a woman, or she a man, that she
might without restriction have poured out upon his
wounds the wine and oil of sympathy with which her
heart was bursting She could only say, apparently
apropos of nothing, I-I'm so sorry and the words
sounded like a sob.
You are very kind," was his gently hopeless re-
sponse.
"You will begin again in London?" Dulcie went
on, in the tone of one preferring a personal request.
" You will forget the past, and start afresh, and God
will help you and use you yet."
He shook his head. Never-never," he mur-
mured. To me has been uttered that awful sentence,
'Depart from Me, I never knew you "
"Oh, no-no-no! cried Dulcie, clasping her
hands in an agony. He did know you; He knows







!ulcie Delight.


you now! He is infinitely tender-' the bruised
reed He will not break.' He has given you His
words to speak in the past, you spoke them, and
people were helped. He will need you again, and
you must not refuse. Oh, Mr. Rutherford, think of
Peter, and how splendid he was afterwards !"
The station-bell swung just outside the window
with a deafening clang. The London train was in
sight. Dulcie shrank back shyly, half afraid at the
way she had spoken out; but she seemed for the
moment to have been inspired, and a new light was
shining in Lance Rutherford's eyes.
Thank you-thank you," he said huskily, hold-
ing her little hand close in both his own. "Good-
bye."
"Good-bye. God bless you."
And with those sweetest of words from the sweet-
est of lips still sounding in his ears-surely a precious
pledge that the tender mercy of God was still about
him-Lance Rutherford was whirled away from the
scene of his triumph and humiliation; while Dulcie
Delight, blind with tears, and all forgetful of what
was ostensibly her errand, splashed recklessly home-
ward through rain and mud.





















CHAPTER XI.


A SHOCK.
IT's Mr. Hannaway, miss. I've showed him into the
dining-room."
This was the unexpected announcement which
Jemima made to her mistress on the second after-
noon subsequent to Mr. Rutherford's departure. She
had written to Tom, certainly, the evening before,
but had scarcely expected that he would answer her
communication in person.
Ask him in here, it is more comfortable," said
Dulcie, brushing her work aside with nervous hands,
and mechanically stirring the fire.
She was very pale when Tom entered, and the
fingers he clasped were cold and damp. Full of the
object of his visit, he plunged into it without delay.
"Now, then, young lady," he began. "I want to
know the meaning of that letter I received this
morning ?"






82 Dulcie Delight.

"I-I-wasn't it-didn't it explain itself?" stam-
mered Dulcie.
"Not at all. At least, I cannot believe that you
actually mean what your words would imply."
"I do," she breathed, with averted face.
"Is it possible that you actually intend to break off
our engagement, Dulcie, and for no earthly reason ?"
"I'm very sorry, Tom, dear."
But why-why are you treating me like this ?
Upon my word, Dulcie, it really is most unheard of!
After leading me on all these years, and letting me
give you that ring-and a stunner it is, I can tell
you; not one girl in fifty has got its equal !-to want
to throw me over after a ten days' engagement! 1
cannot have changed in that interval, or done any-
thing to displease you, and I know you cannot have
made any discovery respecting me that should have
shocked you. It must be mere caprice."
No, oh no," murmured the girl; "I feel just the
same for you as ever I did."
The slight unconscious emphasis on the "you"
did not escape Mr. Hannaway's observation. "Is
there some one else in the way, then ?" he demanded.
"You have no right to ask that! she returned,
with a spice of indignation. But her ears and throat
burned crimson.
"I think I have a right. If you go and marry
another man, after promising---"
"I shall never marry any one !" burst in Dulcie.
"And you know I didn't want to promise anything-
*






A Skock.


you teased me into it! And now you may as well
let me quietly go, for I shall never, never, never
marry you!"

A new minister was secured for the "cause" at
Little Dytton ; an elderly man, sedate and sound,
who never ventured upon saying anything, either in
the pulpit or out of it, that had not been said at least
five hundred times before. But he was good and
kind, and led a stainless life. The congregation
dwindled down to its former modest proportions, and
as things resumed a steady jog-trot, Lance Ruther-
ford was gradually forgotten and the disgrace of his
downfall wiped out.
Week after week, for months, and even years,
Dulcie Delight searched in the organ of their own
denomination for a glimpse of one name, the sight of
which would have thrilled her being, but it never ap-
peared. He might be gone abroad, or even be dead.
After all, she often told herself, it was foolish to expect
to meet with any mention of him in the paper; with
such a blot upon his scutcheon it was scarcely likely
he would succeed in obtaining another charge, even
should he dare attempt it.
I wonder what became of that poor Mr. Ruther-
ford !"
It was Miss Pryce who ventured upon this remark,
the first which she had directly made to Dulcie on
this topic since the minister's departure, though that
was now nearly three years past. His name was
F2






Dulcie Delight.


generally avoided by those who knew most about
the unhappy circumstances of his removal.
"I wonder !" echoed the girl, and a wistful shadow
darkened the clear, brown eyes, that a minute before
had been dancing with fun. For there was plenty of
fun in Dulcie still, much as it may disappoint the
reader to learn that prosaic fact. Of course, after
the experience she had passed through, she ought to
have moved about a wan and tearful ghost for the
rest of her days. But she was Dulcie-Dulcie
Delight, with "the sweetest old pa in the world to
take care of, and a host of other people, large and
small, to be gladdened by the sunshine of her smiles ;
consequently those smiles were neither few nor far
between, and the dimples they made were as be-
witching as ever.
On the particular day of which I now write, she
and Miss Pryce had been together to buy a wedding
present for Mr. Tom Hannaway and his intended
bride, an episode which afforded considerable satis-
faction to Dulcie. She at last felt freed from a certain
sense of self-reproach that had long haunted her, as
having been the means of seriously embittering the
life of that worthy young man, though the fact of her
rupture with him had never occasioned her on her
own account a moment's regret.
"I'm sure it is earnestly to be hoped that the
severe lesson he learned while with us may not have
been lost upon him," pursued Miss Pryce. "But
such habits are most difficult to break, and when






A Shock.


once a person, man or woman, loses self-respect-
and I don't see how he could have retained it after
such an exposure-they too easily sink into still
lower depths of degradation."
Mr. Rutherford has not done so," returned Dulcie,
in a quiet, firm voice; and there was something in
the poise of her head and the sudden sparkle in
her eyes that made her look like one repelling an
insult.
How do you know ?" quickly asked the some-
what astonished Miss Pryce.
But how was Dulcie to answer in the simple lan-
guage of her heart, Because I have prayed for him,
night and morning, and in the daytime, ever since he
went away-prayed that he might be kept" ?
She was, however, spared the necessity of making
any reply, by the sudden apparition in the road
before them-they were walking from Kingscombe
station-of the servant-maid from Sandown Cottage.
She was bonnetless, though the March wind blew
keen; her sleeves were rolled above her ruddy
elbows, and her round, meaningless face was almost
as white as her apron.
"What can have happened ?" exclaimed Dulcie,
half-a-dozen possibilities flashing through her brain,
as it seemed, at once ; but the most vivid, as well as
the silliest-oh, Dulcie, Dulcie !-was that "some-
body" had unexpectedly reappeared in Little
Dytton, and paid them a visit!
Oh, miss panted the girl, as they approached






86 Dulcie Delight.

within hearing distance. I thought I should meet
you if I came this way-I said as you must be about
getting towards home by this time. And the doctor,
he said I'd best try and prepare you for it--"
"Prepare me for what?" queried Dulcie, sharply.
"What has happened ? Is it-it isn't papa ?"
Oh, miss, I never had such a shock in my life-
never, and that's the solemn truth. But Dr. Richards,
he says, Break it to her as gentle as you can,' he
says, but I hope if I live to my dying day I may
never see such a sight again !"
She paused for breath. Dulcie did not hear the
speech half through. She was off and away, running
towards the cottage, which was now within sight.
Miss Pryce begged to know the plain truth.
"It's the Major, ma'am. I was afraid to say so to
Miss Dulcie, but he's had a happle-eptic fit. After
he'd had his dinner, which he'd enjoyed more than
common,-though his appetite were never peaky-he
set himself down in his easy chair for a nap. He was
asleep when Miss Dulcie went out. Well, ma'am
about a hour afterwards I went to make up the
parlour fire, and I knocked and knocked, and as no-
body answered, I went in. And what should I see
ma'am, but poor master a-layin' acrost the hearth-rug
with his head among the fire-irons-the greatest
mussey as he wasn't burnt to death, but the fire had
gone a bit low; but his face, ma'am, was the colour
of your dress, right-down purple it were. And he's
never spoke since."



















CHAPTER XII.
"GOLDEN STEPS."

DULCIE DELIGHT was an orphan, and, save for the
meagre results of the sale of the furniture, penniless.
Certain well-to-do relatives offered her a home, but
she preferred to make at least an effort for inde-
pendence before accepting their hospitality.
Mrs. Butler, briefly mentioned already in the
earlier pages of our story, had lately settled in
London, where she was doing very well in her old
business of apartment letting. Dulcie felt that she
would rather live with her than with any one else in
the world; and in reply to inquiries as to the pro-
bability of music-pupils being obtainable in the
suburb where she resided, Mrs. Butler not only
expressed an opinion that Miss Delight, who excelled
in both music and singing, would soon get a connec-
tion, but recommended her own two nieces and a
friend of theirs to start with. If Dulcie experienced
any degree of hesitation before, this decided her.





88 Dulcie Delight.

Bidding "good-bye" to her scores of affectionate
friends at Little Dytton, she loosed her small boat
from its moorings, and essayed to drift out upon the
strange, wide sea of life in the metropolis.
Not wholly strange, either. Kindly, honest Mrs.
Butler, who had known her father and mother so well,
and also been associated with sundry other persons
in whom Dulcie was interested, seemed to diffuse
about her a comfortable atmosphere of the old home
life. She loved Dulcie, as who did not ? and when
the latter found that her presence was a real happi-
ness to her friend, she gradually expanded like a
flower in the sunshine, pouring forth the fragrance of
loving words and deeds, and once again was glad.
She was agreeably surprised to find how the first
three pupils soon introduced two more, and the five
in little over six months had increased to nine. Not
one did she obtain by advertising; her attempts in
that direction were a dead loss. But, as Mrs. Butler
often said, "It's one recommends another, you know,
my dear ;" and before her first year of teaching was
over and her money spent, her connection was large
enough to afford her, with great economy, a com-
petence. Her clientele, however, if so it may be
termed, was not of the most select-the children of
small tradesmen predominating; the daughter of a
lawyer's clerk was the most genteel among them,
and the most remunerative were the four good-
natured, purple-fisted, dull-brained girls whose father
kept a flourishing greengrocery business round the
corner. But people of this class, provided they are






" Golden Steps."


not too rich, are often more liberal and ready in their
payments, and treat one whom they see to be a lady
with more respect than any others except true gentle-
folks. Dulcie was well content.
When she came home weary after several consecu-
tive hours of "one-and-two-and-three-and-four," a
chat with Mrs. Butler over the cosy cup of tea which
they always took together, never failed to restore her
to her wonted sunny self. Most frequently these
talks were of her father and mother, and her bygone
childhood; but sometimes Mrs. Butler took it into
her head to dwell upon reminiscences of "poor, dear
Mr. Rutherford," and the encouragement the good
woman received, albeit of not a very demonstrative
character, was still sufficient to keep her going. She
had been quite fond of the young minister, it appeared,
and told many an anecdote of his generosity, his
thoughtfulness, his ready sympathy with all that
interested others, and his frank, naive attempts to
atone for an occasional display of nervous irritability.
"I'll never believe," Mrs. Butler averred, "but
what he fell into that mistake of his unawares. A
more moderate gentleman in eating and drinking,
and one less likely to indulge himself in any way for
indulgence' sake, I never saw. And it's my opinion,
and I thought so at the time, and I think so still,
that the Little Dytton folks would have done better
to have restored him in a spirit of meekness, as the
Scripture says. But I suppose they acted for the best."
There was, moreover, another source of refresh-
ment which Dulcie possessed. It was quite a secret






Dulcie Delight.


at the time, but I don't think she would mind my
speaking of it now-she wrote poetry! And what
was more-far more, as some of my readers will
doubtless agree-she got it printed. Unpretentious
verses they were, for the most part glorifying the
humble things of life, and suggested by every-day
incidents; but the tenderness, the sweetness, and the
sunny, childlike piety which they breathed won a
place for them in more than one magazine for the
family circle.
It was when she had been thus living in London
for nearly three years that she casually purchased
from a railway bookstall a copy of The Quiet Hour,
a serial of cheerful yet serious tone designed for
Sunday, as well as general reading. The number in
question contained an article by the editor, which
immediately riveted Dulcie's attention, for her eye
fell upon a striking simile which she had heard Mr.
Rutherford use, in a well-remembered sermon, and in
a like connection. She at once concluded that the
writer must also have been present when that same
discourse was delivered, and had cared for it as much
as she, and straightway she felt in a manner drawn
towards him, whoever he might be. She went home
and wrote a poem embodying that beautiful illustra-
tion, which she posted to the editor of The Quiet
Hour before retiring to rest.
Two days later, having been out giving evening
lessons, she found, awaiting her on her return, a
letter directed in an unknown hand.







" Golden Steps."


My poem back !" was her inward comment as
she tore it open. Then, unfolding the enclosure,
she knit her brows, opened her mouth, gasped Good
gracious!" and dropped into a chair.
It's a mistake-it must be!" she explained to
the inquiring Mrs. Butler, forgetting that the latter
knew nothing of her literary ventures. I never was
paid a quarter-not an eighth as much before! "
And she stared at the pink-tinted five-pound cheque
with wide, dilating eyes.
The accompanying note-a printed form filled in
to suit the circumstances of the -case-briefly re-
quested Miss Delight to receive enclosed cheque in
payment for her poem Golden Steps (which was
the title she had given her verses), and signed, The
Editor of The Quiet Hour."
Hitherto, half-a-guinea had been the largest sum
Dulcie had ever received for a single piece of literary
work, and that for a contribution very much longer
than the present. Several editors frankly told her
they could not pay anything for poetry. Even the
proverbial conceit of the amateur poet, therefore,
was insufficient to persuade her that the handsome
cheque which had just come to hand was other than
the result of some extraordinary oversight.
"I shall be close to the office of the magazine to-
morrow, when I go into the City for some new
music," she said, "and I think I had better seek a -
personal explanation of the matter. It may save
trouble."






92 Dulcie Delight.

The following afternoon accordingly found our
heroine, not without some trepidation, threading her
way through narrow, unfamiliar courts, redolent of a-
to the literary nose !-refreshing odour of new paper
and printer's ink, and up still narrower flights of stairs
till she reached the door to which, in answer to
inquiries, she had been directed.
Dulcie's heart quickened its pulsation, as having
heard a somewhat muffled "Come in !" she turned
the handle and entered, for the first time in her life,
the august editorial presence. But a moment later it
seemed with one wild leap to stop, and a buzzing
darkness rushed before her swimming eyes.
When it cleared she was still standing on the
threshold, with her hand upon the door, while a well-
remembered voice was asking her to take a seat.
"I-I had no idea!" she gasped. "This is a
surprise !"
"A delightful one to me," returned the editor, a
tall, pale man, with deep, grave eyes, and a sweet
smile. "You have not forgotten an old friend-if,"
he added, with a slight flush, you will permit me so
to call myself."
"I am glad to-I have not many friends in
London," answered Dulcie. "Did you know it was
I?"
"How could I help it?" asked Mr. Rutherford.
"Your name is so uncommon."
It was a mistake, I think, about that cheque,"
said Dulcie, nervously, recollecting the object of her

























V o


IT WAS A MISTAKE, I THINK ABOUT THAT CHEQUE"- 92
" IT WAS A MISTAKE, I THINK, ABOUT THAT CHEQUE." --Page 92.


t :

,,v.


.t






Dulcie .Delight.


visit, "You did not mean to send so much-five
pounds?"
"It was quite right! returned the editor, hurriedly,
and turning away his head. I am glad you
received it safely. I cannot promise, though, that
the poem will appear just yet."
"Oh-no-thank you! murmured Dulcie, wonder-
ing, with whirling brain, what in the world she
should say next.
I heard of your loss through accidentally meet-
ing some one from Little Dytton a few months after
you had left," continued Mr. Rutherford. You had,
and have, my deepest sympathy."
"Thank you said Dulcie, again; adding, I am
living with Mrs. Butler-you remember her ?"
Indeed I do, and gratefully."
After another brief, awkward pause, Dulcie jumped
up, and looking anywhere but at Mr. Rutherford's
face, observed, "If you would like to call and see her
at any time, I am sure she would be very glad ; she
often speaks of you."
"And you ?" questioned Mr. Rutherford.
Oh yes, of course !" rejoined the girl, with a
rather vague idea of what she was admitting.
And so they met once more, after six long years;
but not for the last time.
Mr. Rutherford soon availed himself of the per-
mission to visit his old acquaintances, when an hour's
chat was sufficient to effectually dissolve the ice- of.
mutual reserve. Mrs. Butler was then compelled to






" Golden Steps."


leave the younger folks alone for a few minutes, while
she attended to certain household matters which
might not be neglected.
It was growing late, and Dulcie's face shone out
dim and sweet in the summer dusk, when Lance
Rutherford ventured to allude to that memorable'
farewell at Little Dytton Station. What you did
for me then," he said, in a low, earnest tone, you
will never fully know. The bitterest remorse and
despair had overwhelmed me. I scarcely dare think
of what I might have been tempted to do. I felt I
was utterly cast out, forsaken, spurned of God and
all His people, when, in His merciful compassion, He
sent you, His angel, to save me What you said to
me of hope and courage, your last words-that
precious 'God bless you!' came to me as a voice
from heaven, a token that He whom, in my deep
humiliation, I dared not approach, was even drawing
nigh to me. You said, 'He has spoken by you in
the past; He will need you again,' and bade me
remember Peter. By-and-by, thinking often of this,
it came to me that if I might not publicly use my
voice for Him-and I know now that even had
nothing else put a stop to my preaching career, I
could not long have borne the exhausting excitement
which it always occasioned-I at least could utter the
thoughts He gave by means of the pen. I was ac-
cepted. I was successful beyond what I had dreamed.
For more than a year past I have myself con-
ducted the magazine to which for a considerable






96 Dulcie Deligt.
time previously I had largely contributed. For six
years I have been a rigid total abstainer. God has
helped me wondrously; but, under Him, I owe all I
now have, and am, to you "
"I'm so glad-so glad! whispered Dulcie; and
the flashing up of a gas-light opposite the window
where they sat showed her face radiant, though her
lips were trembling, and her eyes glittered with tears.
'Do you care very much ? asked Mr. Rutherford,
softly.
Her little fingers clasped themselves convulsively;
her bosom heaved; she tried in vain to speak, and,
suddenly rising, turned away to hide the emotion she
could not control.
Dulcie My Dulcie !"
Her unresisting hand is taken, and she finds her-
self drawn within strong and gentle arms, while over
her some one is whispering My Dulcie- mine For
ever, evermore!"
Mrs. Butler comes in and slips out again unheard.
Lance Rutherford knows that his sin is forgiven, and
Dulcie's heart has entered into its rest.




THE END.


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