Page:That Lass o' Lowrie's.djvu/152

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The Sunday following the curate's visit to Lowrie'a cottage, just before the opening of the morning service at St. Michael's, Joan Lowrie entered, and walking up the side aisle, took her place among the free seats. The church members turned to look at her as she passed their pews. On her part, she seemed to see nobody and to hear nothing of the rustlings of the genteel garments stirred by the momentary excitement caused by her appearance.

The curate, taking his stand in the pulpit that morning, saw after the first moment only two faces among his congregation. One, from among the old men and women in the free seats, looked up at him with questioning in its deep eyes, as if its owner had brought to him a solemn problem to be solved this very hour, or forever left at rest; the other, turned toward him from the Barholm pew, alight with appeal and trust. He stood in sore need of the aid for which he asked in his silent opening prayer.

Some of his flock who were somewhat prone to underrate the young parson's talents, were moved to a novel comprehension of them this morning. The more appreciative went home saying among themselves that the young man had power after all, and for once at least he had preached with uncommon fire and pathos. His text was a brief