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YOU HAVE COME! YOU HAVE SOUGHT ME!"
These are some words from a letter written a few months after the foregoing by one Mrs. Edward Truscott to a friend in New York:
"Edinburgh, May 7th, 1900.
You have always accused me of seeing more and hearing more than any other person of your acquaintance. Perhaps I am fortunate in that respect. Certainly I have been favored today with an adventure of some interest which I make haste to relate to you.
"Being anxious to take home with me some sketches of the exquisite ornamentation in the Rosslyn chapel about which I wrote you so enthusiastically the other day, I took advantage of Edward's absence this morning to visit the place again and this time alone. The sky was clear and the air balmy, and as I approached the spot from the near-by station I was not surprised to see another woman straying quietly about the exterior of the chapel gazing at walls which, interesting as they are, are but a rough shell hiding the incomparable beauties within. I noticed this lady; I could not help it. She was one to attract any eye. Seldom have I seen such grace, such beauty, and both infused by such melancholy. Her sadness added wonderfully to her charm, and I found it hard enough to pass her with the single glance allowable to a stranger, especially as she gave evidence of being one of my own countrywomen:
"However, I saw no alternative, and once within the charmed edifice, forgot everything in the congenial task I had set for myself. For some reason the chapel was deserted at this moment by all but me. As the special scroll-work I wanted was in a crypt down a short flight of steps at the right of the altar, I was completely hidden from view to any one entering above and was enjoying both my seclusion and the opportunity it gave me of carrying out my purpose unwatched when I heard a light step above and realized that the exquisite beauty which had so awakened my admiration had at last found its perfect setting. Such a face amid such exquisite surroundings was a rare sight, and interested as I always am in artistic effects I was about to pocket pencil and pad and make my way up to where she moved among the carved pillars when I heard a soft sigh above and caught the rustle of her dress as she sat down upon a bench at the head of the steps near which I stood. Somehow that sigh deterred me. I hesitated to break in upon a melancholy so invincible that even the sight of all this loveliness could not charm it away, and in that moment of hesitation something occurred above which fixed me to my place in irrepressible curiosity.
"Another step had entered the open door of the chapel--a man's step--eager and with a purpose in it eloquent of something deeper than a mere tourist's interest in this loveliest of interiors. The cry which escaped her lips, the tone in which he breathed her name in his hurried advance, convinced me that this was a meeting of two lovers after a long heart-break and that I should mar the supreme moment of their lives by intruding into it the unwelcome presence of a stranger. So I lingered where I was and thus heard what passed between them at this moment of all moments ire their lives.
"It was she who spoke first.
"Francis, you have come! You have sought me!'
"To which he replied in choked accents which yet could not conceal the inexpressible elation of his heart:
"'Yes I have come, I have sought you. Why did you fly? Did you not see that my whole soul was turning to you as it never turned even to--to her in the best days of our unshaken love; and that I could never rest till I found you and told you how the eyes which have once been blind enjoy a passion of seeing unknown to others--a passion which makes the object seem so dear--so dear--'
"He paused, perhaps to look at her, perhaps to recover his own self-possession, and I caught the echo of a sigh of such utter content and triumph from her lips that I was surprised when in another moment she exclaimed in a tone so thrilling that I am sure no common circumstances had separated this pair:
"'Have we a right to happiness while she-- Oh, Francis, I can not! She loved you. It was her love for you which drove her--'
"'Cora!' came with a sort of loving authority, 'we have buried our erring one and passionately as I loved her, she is no more mine, but God's. Let her woeful spirit rest. You who suffered, supported--who sacrificed all that woman holds dear to save what, in the nature of things, could not be saved--have more than right to happiness if it is in my power to give it to you; I, who have failed in so much, but never in anything more than in not seeing where true worth and real beauty lay. Cora, there is but one hand which can lift the shadow from my life. That hand I am holding now--do not draw it away--it is my anchor, my hope. I dare not confront life without the promise it holds out. I should be a wreck--'
"His emotion stopped him and there was silence; then I heard him utter solemnly, as befitted the place: 'Thank God!' and I knew that she had turned her wonderful eyes upon him or nestled her hand in his clasp as only a loving woman may.
"The next moment I heard them draw away and leave the place.
"Do you wonder that I long to know who they are and what their story is and whom they meant by 'the erring one?'"
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