she favored me with a fascinating smile, devoted to winning my heart when her interests required it--"we hope you will pay us a long visit; we look on you as one of ourselves.
I thanked her, and said I would shake hands with my old friend before I went to my room.
It is out of my power to describe the shock that overpowered me when I first saw the minister again, after the long interval of time that had separated us. Nothing that his daughter said, nothing that I myself anticipated, had prepared me for that lamentable change. For the moment I was not sufficiently master of myself to be able to speak to him. He added to my embarrassment by the humility of his manner, and the formal elaboration of his apologies.
"I feel painfully that I have taken a liberty with you," he said, "after the long estrangement between us--for which my want of Christian forbearance is to blame. Forgive it, sir, and forget it. I hope to show that necessity justifies my presumption in subjecting you to a wearisome journey for my sake."
Beginning to recover myself I begged that he would make no more excuses. My interruption seemed to confuse him.
"I wished to say," he went on, "that you are the one man who can understand me. There is my only reason for asking to see you, and looking forward as I do to your advice. You remember the night--or was it the day?-- before that miserable woman was hanged? You were the only person present when I agreed to adopt the poor little creature, stained already (one may say) by its mother's infamy. I think your wisdom foresaw what a terrible responsibility I was undertaking; you tried to prevent it. Well! well! you have been in my confidence--you only. Mind! nobody in this house knows that one of the two girls is not really my daughter. Pray stop me, if you find me wandering from the point. My wish is to show that you are the only man I can open my heart to. She--" He paused, as if in search of a lost idea, and left the sentence uncompleted. "Yes," he went on, "I was thinking of my adopted child. Did I ever tell you that I baptized her myself? and by a good Scripture name too--Eunice. Ah, sir, that little helpless baby is a grown-up girl now; of an age to inspire love and to feel love. I blush to acknowledge it; I have behaved with a want of self-control,