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Rose in Bloom

19.
Behind The Fountain
Two days after Christmas a young man of serious aspect might have been seen
entering one of the large churches at L---. Being shown to a seat, he joined in the
services with praiseworthy devotion, especially the music, to which he listened
with such evident pleasure that a gentleman who sat nearby felt moved to
address this appreciative stranger after church.
"Fine sermon today. Ever heard our minister before, sir?" he began, as they went
down the aisle together among the last, for the young man had lingered as if
admiring the ancient building.
"Very fine. No, sir, I have never had that pleasure. I've often wished to see this
old place, and am not at all disappointed. Your choir, too, is unusually good,"
answered the stranger, glancing up at several bonnets bobbing about behind the
half-drawn curtains above.
"Finest in the city, sir. We pride ourselves on our music, and always have the
best. People often come for that alone." And the old gentleman looked as
satisfied as if a choir of cherubim and seraphim "continually did cry" in his organ
loft.
"Who is the contralto? That solo was beautifully sung," observed the younger
man, pausing to read a tablet on the wall.
"That is Miss Moore. Been here about a year, and is universally admired.
Excellent young lady couldn't do without her. Sings superbly in oratorios. Ever
heard her?"
"Never. She came from X , I believe? "Yes, highly recommended. She was
brought up by one of the first families there. Campbell is the name. If you come
from X , you doubtless know them."
"I have met them. Good morning." And with bows the gentlemen parted, for at
that instant the young man caught sight of a tall lady going down the church
steps with a devout expression in her fine eyes and a prayer-book in her hand.
Hastening after her, the serious-minded young man accosted her just as she
turned into a quiet street.
"Phebe!"
Only a word, but it wrought a marvelous change, for the devout expression
vanished in the drawing of a breath, and the quiet face blossomed suddenly with
color, warmth, and "the light that never was on sea or land" as she turned to
meet her lover with an answering word as eloquent as his.
"Archie!"
"The year is out today. I told you I should come. Have you forgotten?"
"No I knew you'd come."
"And are you glad?"
"How can I help it?"
"You can't don't try. Come into this little park and let us talk." And drawing her
hand through his arm, Archie led her into what to other eyes was a very dismal
square, with a boarded-up fountain in the middle, sodden grass plots, and dead
leaves dancing in the wintry wind.
 
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