"Oh no; and not handsome,—that is, not very," said Lucy, half-penitent at this uncharitable remark.
Did she lie down in the gloomy bedroom of the old inn that night with her will bent unwaveringly on the path of penitent sacrifice?
But soon, as Maggie looked, every distinct thought began to be overflowed by a wave of loving penitence, and words burst forth with a sob.
If she had felt that she was entirely wrong, and that Tom had been entirely right, she could sooner have recovered more inward harmony; but now her penitence and submission were constantly obstructed by resentment that would present itself to her no otherwise than as a just indignation.
Bob had not been aware of the injurious opinion for which Maggie was performing an inward act of penitence, but he smiled with pleasure at this handsome eulogy,—especially from a young lass who, as he informed his mother that evening, had "such uncommon eyes, they looked somehow as they made him feel nohow."
Maggie was resting her elbow on the table, leaning her head on her hand and looking at Philip with half-penitent dependent affection, as she said this; while he was returning her gaze with an expression that, to her consciousness, gradually became less vague,—became charged with a specific recollection.
Life stretched before her as one act of penitence; and all she craved, as she dwelt on her future lot, was something to guarantee her from more falling; her own weakness haunted her like a vision of hideous possibilities, that made no peace conceivable except such as lay in the sense of a sure refuge.
Wakem darted a glance of fierce question at his son; but Philip was not looking at him, and with a certain penitent consciousness went on, in a few moments, as if in amplification of his last words,— "Find a single person in St. Ogg’s who will not tell you that a beautiful creature like her would be throwing herself away on a pitiable object like me."
Maggie had frequent tidings through her mother, or aunt Glegg, or Dr. Kenn, of Lucy’s gradual progress toward recovery, and her thoughts tended continually toward her uncle Deane’s house; she hungered for an interview with Lucy, if it were only for five minutes, to utter a word of penitence, to be assured by Lucy’s own eyes and lips that she did not believe in the willing treachery of those whom she had loved and trusted.
Bob pushed the sovereigns forward, but before Tom could speak Maggie, clasping her hands, and looking penitently at Bob. said: "Oh, I’m so sorry, Bob; I never thought you were so good.
At last he seated himself again, and said, looking at Maggie,— "Your prompting to go to your nearest friends,—to remain where all the ties of your life have been formed,—is a true prompting, to which the Church in its original constitution and discipline responds, opening its arms to the penitent, watching over its children to the last; never abandoning them until they are hopelessly reprobate.