absence, al though certainly he must have seen many a
prettier face than this young stranger's ?"
Maria shook her head in silence.
"If, too," continued the pastor, " the inclination of
the young lady for Godber goes for the moment some-
what beyond the bounds of friendship and gratitude,
does it follow that it is a serious passion ? Could you
expect that having been just saved by him from the
most imminent peril of death, she should at once re-
press her feelings within those limits which she must
and will hereafter observe. That bewitching language,
that seductive manner, which has given you so much
pain, will after a little consideration be changed to mere
friendly thankfulness ; and Godber, in case you have
judged rightly his conduct this morning, will confess
the passing excitement like a penitent child."
Still Maria made no reply.
"But why do we talk longer ?" was the conclusion of
this attempt at consolation ; "is then your faith in
Godber's love so weak that a single moment can shake
it ? Has not your mutual faith been plighted in the
presence of Hira who turneth the hearts of men like
the water brooks ? And shall not that God who has
brought him home to you after so many years of peril,
— shall He not still further watch over you, and bring
all to a happy end ? Leave your future in the bands
of the Lord. He will do according to His own counsels
of wisdom and goodness. Commit thy ways to Him.
He will leave none without comfort and hope who put
their trust in Him."
"Amen," said the mother, who had devoutly folded
her hands ; but Maria could not respond, and only sob-