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why I went in, but something made me. And then I knelt behind that pillar, where I thought no one knew me and no one saw me. I never prayed so hard before. I asked God to send me some good thing—something that I wanted—that He knew that I wanted. I was so bewildered, I hardly knew what it was. And has not God heard me? He has sent me you.'
The girl's eyes were brimming with tears, and the drops lay on her long dark lashes.
Nesta spoke a few words of comfort ; but it was the voice and not the words that soothed.
. And you got no answer to your letter, Rosa ?' she asked at length.
No,' she said ; ‘I waited and waited and none came. I walked down to meet old Lenz for weeks before anyone was stirring, always hoping he might have something for me, but he never had. It isn't his fault,' she added, as she caught the look of pity in Nesta’s face ; “it isn't his fault; he has got other things to think of where he is. I know
he loves me all the same, and some day or other we shall meet in that world where they don't reckon the difference between silk and cotton, and he will love me then, and may be not be ashamed of me.
She looked so pale and wan that Nesta thought her own journey to that happy land would not be long delayed. “And you have walked here, Rosa ? What have you done with your things ?'
"I left them all ; I didn't want anything, only to get away. Besides, I wasn't going to take things away with me; there was a gown Frau Mässinger gave me; it had belonged to Lisette, and it didn't seem like mine to bring with me in this manner. I couldn't have asked God to bless me, if I had come away like a thief.
And your money ? What have you got with you ? asked Nesta in her kind gentle tone.
"I have none,' said Rosa ; “ a woman gave me a bit of black bread yesterday evening, and a cup of milk—that must have been one
of the things I wanted when I prayed; but God knew, and I was too tired to think and put it into words.
“And you came all this way without anything ? asked Nesta.
“No, not quite,' said Rosa, as a sudden thought occurred to her, and Nesta's manner encouraged confidence ; ‘I have a piece of money, only it isn't money that I can spend. The English gentleman gave it me one time when he was up our way. It was the very day Master Dick fell into the water, and the gentleman saved him. Master Dick had always been good to me, and I was very fond of the boy, and would have given my life sooner than he should be drowned. I used to wish I could go and help to nurse him, and many a time I stayed outside the door when other folks were sleeping just to hear how he was. But I didn't often get much comfort from the news, for Master Dick was very ill, and that was all they told me. On Sunday I went to church ; Frau Mässinger was busy and hadn't time to go, and she thought there
was more religion, she said, in staying at home and doing her duty ; and I heard the pastor pray for the young gentleman. There was hardly a dry eye when he said that prayer ; and then in my own mind I made a sort of vow that if the young master got well, I wouldn't use that money for my own silly wants, but would keep it until God showed me what to do with it.'
• And you have it still ? ' asked Nesta.
“Yes, I have kept it; I have it here now, she said, pointing to her heart, “wrapped up with the other thing that I put with it. I felt just now to see if it was safe, just as I came into church, and it seemed like a sort of promise that God would help me.'
“And the other thing?
• It is a lock of his hair,' said Rosa ; she did not say whose, but Nesta knew.
The service was over, and several of the people who had attended it were coming out at the door, and through the porch in which they were standing an old woman was wiping her eyes as she passed them ; she had
been praying earnestly for her sick child at home; an old man hobbled out into the sunshine, leaning on his stick, and one or two began to gossip before they were out of the sacred precincts, and to talk over the village news with eager excitement.
With all Nesta's sympathy with Rosa, she did not uphold her in the course she had taken of running away, so when she had walked with the girl to the village inn, and had seen her refreshed and strengthened by the food she wanted, she began to talk to her of her future. One thing was certain ; she must go and make it up with Frau Mässinger. How could she hope that God would hear her prayers and answer them, if all the while she were indulging her own evil and rebellious feelings ? And had she not committed a wrong against her mistress in leaving her thus suddenly and without warning, when there was no one but herself to do the work, and at a time, too, when the ripening fruits of the earth made her presence and her help especially necessary? Rosa listened to it all;