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cared nothing for her now, although he had confessed that in his boyhood he had looked upon her as his future wife. Almost every man selects his wife in his early boyhood; but the child lover seldom becomes the husband. The love of a playmate, tender as it may be, is not the love of maturity. Cora strove to console herself with these thoughts; but there was another danger that would obtrude itself in her way. That was the knowledge that he had not seen Adelpha for years, and she had developed from a child to a beautiful woman. Long she sat near the door, feeling decidedly guilty at playing the part of an eavesdropper; but when Charles rose, closed his book and went to his room, and the mother put away her work, Cora rose and went to her bed. Despite her sorrow and mental worry, she had sweet dreams. Somebody, who was Charles, appeared to her in light, and she rose with the sun in her eyes, which at first produced the effect of a continuation of her dream. Her first thought on coming out of the dream was of a smiling nature, and she felt quite reassured. The dream had been so pleasant and sweet; life seemed so peaceful and full of hope; nature smiled so brightly on this holy morn, that she almost forgot the hot words of the pastor and her jealousy of the night before. She began hoping with all her strength, without knowing why, and suffered from
a contraction of the heart. It was a bright day; but the sunbeam was still nearly horizontal, so she reasoned that it was quite early; but she thought she ought to rise in order to assist Charles' mother in her household duties. She would see Charles himself, feel the warmth of his glance and hear the music of his voice. No objection was admissible; all was certain. It was monstrous enough to have suffered the pangs of jealousy on the night before; but now that the bright dreams and glorious dawn had dispelled these, she felt sure that good news had come at last. Youth is so constituted, that it quickly wipes its tears away, for it is natural for youth to be happy, while its breath is made up of hope.
Cora could not have recalled a single instance in which Charles Stevens had uttered a word of hope or encouragement to her. Her thoughts seemed to play at hide and seek in her brain, and she was so strangely, peculiarly happy this morning, that she preferred to enjoy the revels of day-dreams to the realities of life. Leaving her bed, she bathed her face and said her prayers.
Voices were heard without, and she listened. One was the well beloved voice of Charles Stevens. He was speaking with some one, whom she rightly guessed had just arrived. The voice of the newcomer was too far distant for her to recognize it at
first: but her eye, glancing through the lattice, descried the form of a man coming toward the house. That tall form, with thin, cadaverous features and stern, unbending eye, was the man who had publicly condemned her and held her up to the scorn of the whole congregation, because she was the child of a player.
player. Cora did not hate him, for she was too pure, too good, too heavenly to hate even the man who had declared her to be a firebrand of perdition. What was his object this lovely morn? His appearance dispelled all the rosy dreams and once more plunged her into that horrible, oppressive gloom, which seemed heavier than lead upon her heart.
“You are abroad early, this morning, Mr. Parris," Charles answered to the minister's morning greeting
“Not too soon, however," the reverend gentleman answered. “The devil does not sleep. He is abroad continually, and, verily, one needs must rise early to be before him and his minions."
“Where are you going, Mr. Parris?" asked the youth.
“I am coming here." “Your call is early."
“Not earlier than Satan's. I trow he is here even already and hath abided with you, before I
Charles made no answer to this, for there is no wrath like the wrath of an angry preacher, whose zeal warps his judgment and makes a fanatic of him. Bigoted, tyrannical, haughty and cruel, Parris swooped down on his enemies with the fury of an eagle.
Charles Stevens was a little amazed at the manner of the minister and asked:
“Is your business with me?"
“It seems best that we converse where there is no danger of being overheard, Charles, as what I have to say is of a very grave and serious nature and concerns your soul's welfare."
When a bigoted, ambitious zealot becomes interested in the welfare of a person, that person is in danger.
The anxious girl, whose face was pressed close to the window lattice watching the men, heard all and turned so pale, that even the warm rays of the sun failed to give the tint and glow of life to the cheek. She saw them walk away down the path and go across the brook among the trees and over the distant hill.
To Charles, it was like making a pilgrimage to some place of evil, the end of which he dreaded. Across the hill, hidden from the town by trees and
intervening slope, they paused near the corner of a stone fence, and Mr. Parris leaned against the wall and gazed on Charles in silence.
“What have you to say, Mr. Parris?” the young man asked, as the cold, gray eye, like a gleam of steel fell upon him. Mr. Parris, in slow and measured tones, answered:
“No man knows until the time comes what depths are within him. To some men it never comes. Let them rest and be thankful. To me it was brought-it was forced upon me. I am despised, misused and abused by the world for the fact that I stand in the hand of God to do his holy will."
“You talk strangely, Mr. Parris,” said Charles, when the wild-eyed fanatic had finished and turned his haggard face up toward heaven. “I think your earnestness and zeal are mistaken.”
“Yes, mistaken by all; but I know the Lord ordains me for this good and holy work, and I will serve my Master, hard as the task may be.”
“Mr. Parris, may we not be mistaken in what constitutes the service of the Master?"
“Aye! Is not the way so plain that a wayfaring man, though a fool, cannot err therein?”
“Yet, they shall put you out of the synagogues; yea, the time cometh that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.' The great question to decide is which is right. “Not every