Thomas Wingfold, Curate - vol.2

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It was some moments before either of them spoke, and it did not help Wingfold that she sat clouded by a dark-coloured veil. At length he said,

"You must not fear to trust me because I doubt my ability to help you. I can at least assure you of my sympathy. The trouble I have myself had enables me to promise you that."

"Can you tell me," she said, from behind more veils than that of lace, "how to get rid of a haunting idea?"

"That depends on the nature of the idea, I should imagine," answered the curate. "Such things sometimes arise merely from the state of the health, and there the doctor is the best help."

Helen shook her head, and smiled behind her veil a grievous smile. The curate paused, but, receiving no assistance, ventured on again.

"If it be a thought of something past and gone, for which nothing can be done, I think activity in one's daily work must be the best aid to endurance."

"Oh dear! oh dear!" sighed Helen--"when one has no heart to endure, and hates the very sunlight!--You wouldn't talk about work to a man dying of hunger, would you?"

"I'm not sure about that."

"He wouldn't heed you."

"Perhaps not."

"What would you do then?"

"Give him some food, and try him again, I think."

"Then give me some food--some hope, I mean, and try me again. Without that, I don't care about duty or life or anything."

"Tell me, then, what is the matter; I MAY be able to hint at some hope," said Wingfold, very gently. "Do you call yourself a Christian?"

The question would to most people have sounded strange, abrupt, inquisitorial; but to Helen it sounded not one of them all.

"No," she answered.

"Ah!" said the curate a little sadly, and went on. "Because then I could have said, you know where to go for comfort.--Might it not be well however to try if there is any to be had from him that said

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