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accents, and the natural tone of the exclamation would have satisfied the most suspecting of its genuineness. “Did you then really notice anything?"
"Well, yes; I must admit having noticed the traces of recent weeping on one of my little charges' cheeks,” owned her questioner, "Now come, tell me what it was all about.”
Dot's face became overclouded and perplexed.
“I would willingly, but- -” and she hesitated to go on.
* Do not be afraid to speak," came reassuringly from her companion, as he stroked the child's fair hair. “If you fear to anger me, know that you could never do that in anything you might say or do." “Never?"
Never, pet. I might be filled with pity and sorrow for you, but with anger, never.
My word is not given heedlessly.”
“ True ; I know that. I will tell you, my good friend and comforter. Trixie-said-last-night -your-heart-was-broken. Tell me, is it so ?”
There was a pause, during which Great-heart, with compressed lips and sad look in his eyes, read the face of the little child sitting on his knee. At length, with a weary sigh, he answered her,
“ Alas! I fear it is. Yet not so much by any of the things I told you of last night. They are as nothing compared to others.”
"Ah! the things you hinted at in the Park that day?
Dear Great-heart, let me hear of them. Perhaps, you know, in my small way, I could comfort you. In any case, know that you have my most earnest, heartfelt sympathy,” affectionately whispered that odd, old-fashioned little one.
“ If it were to tear open fresh wounds in which, though never healed, the pain is lulled at times, would you still ask me ?”
The water-nymph, on her visit up to earth, pondered deeply for a while with downcast eyes ; then suddenly lifting up her face, said fearlessly,
“ Yes ; I would still beg you to tell me.” “And why, little Dot ?”
“Because in most earthly troubles (I do not say in all) the sympathy of a fellow-creature is a great and glorious comfort to one in so sad a strait
The wound may be torn open again but to be bound up afterwards the more effectually.”
“I fear not so here, wise little Dot," sighed Great-heart.
“ Try," urged the child.
“If I give way to your arguments, will you assure me that what I unfold shall go no further, here
or afterwards during that other state of yours into which you will so shortly enter?” “Look into my face for your answer.
If need be, I will giue you the assurance you ask.”
Great-heart did gaze into those wonderful eyes, long and with scrutiny, as if to peer through them into the child's very soul. When he at length looked away, he pressed her to him and said,
“No, there is no need, I take your word. Sit down at my feet, little baby. Make no comment or interruption, but listen.”
Dot obeyed, clasped her hands together, and, as bidden, prepared to drink in eagerly all her idol thought it wise to tell her.
“ You may remember, when talking to you yesterday, that I noticed the existence of a friend, who stood by my sweet mother and me in time of need ?” (The child nodded.) “If I recollect aright, I did but lightly touch upon his memory, for it is no more than that now : enough only to prove to you that he was a good and true Christian ?” (The child bowed her head in assent again). “He
more than that to me: my best and truest companion, brother; as children, as youths, then, in later life, as men, had we known one another. It is not often in this work-a-day world, Dot, that the trusts of tender years extend themselves into
manhood. We are parted the one from the other. Meetings come but seldom, then drop entirely. Promises of an exchange of intercourse by letter are delayed, put off ; in time the many confided vows broken altogether. Then by degrees all is forgotten, and confidants as boys become the mere shadows of acquaintanceship in manhood. This is the general course in such things. But between this one I have named to you and myself it was far different. When these friendships do exist, they grow in power as the body grows, to ripen in time into something more than a passing liking, into affection, love, So it was with us. It is not needful for me to dwell long upon my friend's character ; yet I will tell you this much, that he was good and true and honest, far beyond any words I could bring to picture him to you. relation of life, in all trouble, sorrow, disappointments, the banners of faith and trust were those he carried ; manly and straightforward in all and every action; tender-hearted, loving, lovable ; in a word, a jewel of rare price in these days, a perfect man!”
Here Dot faintly murmured to herself, “Ah, how like my Great-heart !” But it is as well the words did not reach her hero's ears, or the tale he had commenced would have gone no further.
“ As a contrast to so pure a Christian, I must now tell you of another who in those days threw himself across our path. At the mere thought of this creature, -I cannot call him man, the mind sickens. I can linger only long enough to speak of the existence of such an one, a loathsome devil in the human garb. If the awful craft and cunning of his nature had been set upon his form and face, then men might have read a warning and fled. Well would it have been had this been so. Many an aching heart would have been spared. But, alas ! as is so often the case, the visage gave no clue to the dark devilry within. Who could probe through the baseness of that pale face, with its almost perfect features ? Who strip of their falseness the honeyed words that fell so glibly from the lying tongue ? Who detect under that polished manner the hypocrite and liar ? Few, dear Dot, very, very few.
“ And who was the likeliest to fall into the net of such an one as this ? He whose own pure nature could not fathom the depth of another's baseness, who himself, open, frank almost to a fault, could hardly believe in any wickedness of others; he who in all his worldly actions wore his heart upon his sleeve. So it was.
Many and many a time have I talked with that dear friend, urged him by the sacred vows of our love, by every proof that I could find,