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The lost angel




Title:TheLostAngel
Author:KatharineTynan
AProjectGutenbergAustraliaeBook
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Language:English
Datefirstposted:October2010
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Title:TheLostAngel
Author:KatharineTynan

Published1908.

AUTHOROF“THEWAYOFAMAID,”“THEADVENTURESOFALICIA,”
ETC.

*

CONTENTS:


THELOSTANGEL
ANOLDCOUPLE


THEJUDGMENTOFSOLOMON
ST.MARYOFTHEISLES


THEFOX
THEINTERVIEW


AHOMELESSCOUPLE
ALETTEROFINTRODUCTION


ATELEPHONEMESSAGE


THECHILDRENATOKEOVERS


THEKINDSAINT
AUNTBETTY


PRINCESSMOLLY
HISLORDSHIPANDTHEPOET


THEKINGCOPHETUA
BILLYANDTHEBONNETS


THEOLDHERO
THEKNOCKINGATTHEDOOR
*

THELOSTANGEL.

Waring’seyerestedonthelittleimageamidthegarishnessofthefair,
andhehadafeelingasthoughhehadsuddenlyemergedintoaplaceof
greennessandflowingwaters.

Itwasalittleangelinyellowedmarble.Theedgesofthemarblewere
smoothasivory.Itwaschippedhereandthere.Plainlyitwasveryold.
Howonearthhaditcomethereamidtheplastercastsandpaintedimages
suchasareturnedoutcheaplybythethousand?

Ashetookitintohishandsomethingstirredwithinhim,warmedhim
likealittleflame,stabbedhimwitharesentmentwhichwastenderness
woundedtodeath.Thelittleangelhadtheroundedcheek,thepurityof
outlinefromeartochinofMildred,thegirlwhomhehadswornto
forget,whomhehadthrustoutofhismindasmensometimesthrustaway


thepatientangelwecallConscience.

Hestoodthereaminutestaringatthefigure.Itwasbeautifully
carved.Hesaidtohimselfthatthefacehadthemouldingofan
unsheathedlily.Allaroundhimwerenoise,dust,heat,glare.Heheard
thescreamingofasteammerry-go-round.Justoppositewherehestood
peopleweregoinginandoutofthetentofthehumanleopard.Amidthe
vulgaritiesofthefair,itsindecencies,theinnocenceheheldinhis
handstruckhimassomethingcuriouslypathetic.Hefeltasthoughhe
mustsnatchthelittleangelawayashewouldhavesnatchedaninnocent,
uncomprehendingchild.

“Howmuch?”heasked.

Themanbehindthestalllookedathimfromunderhiscraftyeyelids.

“Thelittleangel?Itwasverychoice.Monsieurhaddoubtlessperceived
howexcellentitwas.”Heaskedforthelittleangelfifteenfrancs.

TurningthelittlefigureaboutWaringhaddiscoveredonafeatherof
onedelicatewingtheprice,onefranc.Buthehandedoverthefifteen


francswithoutdemur.Itwasworthagooddealmorethanthathesaidto
himself,andiftheroguehadaskedhimmanytimesthatamountheshould
havepaidit.Thelittleangelseemedtohavelaidsoftconstraining
handsabouthisheart.

AshewalkedhomefromthefairtohisdimoldhotelintheHauteVille
heaskedhimselfbitterlywhyhehadmadesuchapurchase.Godknows
thatangelswerefarenoughfromhimsinceMildredandhehadparted
company.

Itwasnight,andtheill-litstreetswiththeirshinycobble-stones
weremoredangerouslysmoothbecauseofarecentshower.Hethrustthe
littleangelwhichhehadbeencarryinginhishandintohisbreast,as
thoughheheldachildthereforwarmthandshelter.Ashehelditwith
hishandpressedagainstithehadagainthesensationofsomethingwarm
andcomforting.Why?BecausethelittleangelhadMildred’srounded
cheek?Whatunspeakablefolly!Howdaredhethinkofher!Shewouldgo
herownhonest,honourablewayinlifewhilehe—wenttotheDevil.He
wasgoingtherenowasfastashecould.Thefurieswereathisheels.

Suddenlyhestoppedshortinthegloomystreet,sosuddenlythata


sergent-de-villeslippedintotheshadowsandeyedhimsuspiciouslyfor
amomentortwo.Hehadfeltunmistakablyashethoughtthepressureof
achild’shandsonhisheart,constrainingsofthandsthathecouldnot
breakfromifhewould.

Ashewentonhisheartbegantobleed.Ifhehadnotbeensuchan
accursedfool—hedidnotstoptopickhiswords;ifHelenhadnotcast
herbeautiful,balefulshadowoverhislife,Mildredwouldhavebeenhis
wifemorethanthreeyearsago.HemighthavebeenholdingMildred’s
childandhisagainsthisbreastashewasholdingthelittleangelnow.
Buthehaddestroyedhimself;withhisownhandhehadcutdownthefair
fabricofhishappiness.Hepantedlikeamanathirstinthedesertat
thedreamofwaterasavisionswamintohismindofthatunattainable
lostParadise,thelifethatshouldhavebeenhiswithMildred.Hehad
saidgood-byetoallthingslovelyandoffairreport.Helenhadcalled
himbacktohisoldbondage,andhewasgoing.Hehadfoundthatthe
fettersofsinwerehardertoslipthananythatreligionandconscience
andvirtuecanforge.

AshewentwearilytobedinhisroomintheHoteldeFranceheknew
thatallillusionswereoverforhim.EvenhispassionforHelenwasa


deadthing.Heknewwhyshewantedhim,nowthatherhusband,the
simple,goodfellowshehadcheatedandbetrayed,wasdead.Shewanted
himnotbecauseshelovedhim—ifshehadlovedhimhesaidtohimself
thathecouldhaveforgivenher—butbecauseshewasnolongersoyoung
asshehadbeen;becauseitwastimeforhertorangeherself,tobecome
respectable,nowthatthemiddle-agesheloathedwasinsight.Shehad
alwayskeptongoodtermswiththeworld.AsMrs.WaringofWolvercote
Placeshecouldholdherheadashighasanyofthem.Intime,he
thoughtwithbittermockeryofhimselfandher,shemightbecomea
dragonofrespectability.Andnonewouldknowexceptherhusbandhow
corruptaheartwashers,howhermemorywasaplaceofdeadbonesand
ashesofburnt-outpassions.

Helenhadcalledhimhometoanearlyprivatemarriage.Shehadnomind
totakethechances.Theycouldbemarriedatonce,andassoonasa
decentintervalofwidowhoodhadpassedthemarriagecouldbeannounced.
ThetimehadlongpassedwhenthethoughtofmarriagewithHelenwould
havefiredhisblood.Hewasgoingtoherfromoldhabit,becausehehad
madesucharuinofhislifethatitwasnouseconsideringwhatwas
left.Hehadsolittleillusionaboutitallthathesaidtohimself
thatifHelencouldhavebroughtawealthier,titledsuitortothepoint


ofproposingmarriageshewouldhavelethimbe.

Hewasgoinghometoatoneforthefollyandwickednessofhisyouth.He
wasgoingtomakeHelentheladyofWolvercote,tosetherupthere
whereonlygoodwomenandhonourablemenhadreigned.Hemockedagainat
himselfwhenhethoughtofHelenandhimselfsittingintheplaceshis
fatherandmotherhadoccupied.Whyhadheeverbeenborn?Whyhadhe
notdiedbeforehehadcometosuchthings?

Asheturnedonhispillowalittleradiancefellonhisclosedeyelids.
Heopenedhiseyesandlookedtowardstheshelfonwhichhehadplaced
thelittleangel.Therewassurelyalightaboutit.Moonlight,itmust
bemoonlightofcourse,throughariftinthewindowcurtains.Hefelt
theradianceonhisfaceashefellasleep.Itlaypalelyoverallhis
dreams,whichwerepeacefulones,dreamsofchildhood,ofhismother
andMildred.Itwaslongsincehehadhadsuchdreams.

Hehadawetandstormycrossing,andwhenhereachedLondonhefoundit
inreekingrainandheat.Nooneexpectedhim.Hehadnotevenwritten
toHelentosaythathewouldcome.Hemightobeyher,butitwas
unwillingly.Hewouldmakenopretenceateagerness.Sheherselfhad


killedhisardourlongago.

Hewashungrytoo.Butbeforeheatehemusthavedryclothes.Hehad
remainedondeckduringthepassageandhadsatinwetclothesever
since.

Hedrovetohisflatandlethimselfin.Ithadbeenunoccupiedforsome
monthsanddriftsofdustwereovereverything.Theashesofafireof
lastwinterlayinthegrate.Whatdaylighttherewasfromtheobscured
skyhardlystruggledthroughthedirtywindows.Thediscomfortofit
smotehimcoldlythroughhisunhappiness.

Heunstrappedhisportmanteautofinddryclothes.Oneofthefirst
thingstocomeoutwasthelittleangel.Hehadputitawaywrappedina
bitofbeautifulsilk,oneofthemanythingshehadpurchasedinhis
wanderings,notsomuchbecauseofanypleasureinacquiringthemas
fromanoldhabit.Thoughlifewasoverforhimhestillcouldnothelp
buyingabeautifulthingwhenhesawit.

Helaiditdownstillswathedinthesilk.Thenextthingtocomeout
washiscaseofrazors.Asheputitasideathoughtstruckhim.Manya


manwouldhavefoundawayoutthatway.Itmightbethedecentestthing
todo,notbywayoftherazors—hisfastidiousnessrecoiledfrom
that—butbywayofadrenchedhandkerchiefovertheface,apilule,a
fewdropsinaglass.ThatwouldsaveWolvercote,atleast.Iftherewas
anotherworldoutthereamongtheshadesheneednotfearthescornof
thecleanhonourablemen,theeyesofthegoodwomen,hehadsprung
from.

Therewasachemist’sshoparoundthecorner.Theyknewhim.Theywould
givehimwhatheaskedforwithoutadoctor’sprescription.

Hechangedhisclothesandwentout.Hehadforgottenthelittleangel
lyingonthefloorinitssilkwrappings.Thethoughtoftheeuthanasia
soeasilyprocurablearoundthecornerforafewcoinshadengrossed
him.Hehadnotevenadogtomisshimwhenhewasgone.Wolvercote
wouldgotohiscousinReggie,thatirreproachableparsonwitha
parson’squiverful.WithReggie,Wolvercotemightkeepitshonour
untarnished.HedidnotsupposeHelenwouldcare.Shewouldbeangry
withhimforthwartingherplans—and—shewouldlookforanewlover.

Whenhecamebackagain,withhiskeytothegreatmysteryresting


unromanticallyinthebreast-pocketofhiscoat,hisfootknocked
againstthelittleangel.Theroomnowwasfulloftheduskandof
shadows.Helifteditwithacompunction,asthoughhehadstruckflesh
andblood,andclearedaspaceforitonthechimney-pieceamidthe
debrisofsixmonthsago.Thenhestoodregardingitunhappily.

Againhehadthedelusionthatalightcamefromit.Somildand
waveringwasitthathecouldnotbesureifitwasaneffectofthe
twilightandthenewlylitlampinthestreet.Theoutlineofthecheek
glimmered.ItwasMildred:no,itwasanangel:itwasaprayingchild:
ifamanhadhadadeadchildinHeavenhemighthavethoughtofitso.

Hecoveredhiseyeswithhishandandleantuponthechimney-piece.He
touchedthelittlefigurewithacaressandhadafeelingasthough
virtuecameoutofit.Slowly,slowlyhedrewfromhispocketthething
thatwastohaveprocuredhimhiswayout.Heopenedthewindowand
scatteredittothenightair.Atleastheneednotaddcowardicetohis
othershames,andWolvercotemightawaititsdeliverance.Nochildof
hiswouldstepintohisshoes;intimeasonofReggie’swouldsucceed
him,andthingswouldgoonintheoldblamelessway.



Well,hesupposedheoughttogotoHelen.Shewasintownandmustbe
expectinghimeveryday.Hewasstillchilledanduncomfortable.She
wouldhavefire,light,luxury;yethewasunwillingtogo.

Hedroppedintoachairundertheeyesofthelittleangel,andsat
therestaringatthecoldgrate.Presentlyhewouldsummonupenergy
enoughtogodownstairs,callacab,andbecarriedawaytoClarges
Street.Heshiveredandturnedhot.Hisheadswam.Hewonderedifhewas
goingtobeill.Why,ifhefellillthereintheflatwhichhadbeen
untenantedsolonghemightdiealonelikearatinthedark.Noonehad
seenhimcomeback.Ifheweretodieitmightbemonthsbeforethey
discoveredhim.

Hesweatedatthethought.Thenhewasdryandhotagain,andheheard
hispulsesthuddinginhisears.TheNightfoldedhershadowsinthe
room.Ifheweregoingtodieitmustnotbeinthedark.

Hetriedinhispocketformatchesandfoundnone.Hefeltaboutthe
chimney-pieceamongtherubbish,andfoundeverythingbutmatches.Still
therewassurelyaglory,aradianceintheplace.Ah,hesawnowthat
itwascomingfromthefaceoftheangel.Adelusion,ofcourse,hesaid


tohimself,apartofthefeverthatwascominguponhim.Stillitwas
comforting.Hecouldseethefaceofthelittleangelplainly.Itwas
Mildred’sfaceanditsmileduponhim.

Itmighthavebeenafewminuteslater,itmighthavebeenanhour,two
hours,whenthewordsthatwerethuddinginhisbraintookshape.

“GotoMildred!GotoMildred!”Heheardthewordsquiteplainly,and
thevoicewaslikethevoiceofalittlechild.

Hestruggledtohisfeetandwentdownthestairs,holdingonbythe
sidesbecausehisheadreeled.Heheardhimselfgivingthecabmanthe
oldbelovedaddressashemighthaveheardastranger’svoice.

AlittlewhilelaterMildredChesham,sittinginherroomwhichwaslike
ashrineofgoodwoman-hood,heardhisnameannounced.Shewenttomeet
himwiththemostwonderfulsmile.Itwasthesmileofthelittleangel.
Sheheldouthertwohandstohim.Beforehecouldreachherhe
stumbled.“Ah!”shecried,“youareill,”andthecompassioninher
voicewaslikethemother’s.Therewashismirageoflivingwaters,
thereinherbreast.Hehadfounditatlast.



*

Ayearlater,WaringandMildred,stillontheirleisurely
honeymoon—theyhadbeenmarriedassoonasWaringwasconvalescentfrom
hisillness—cameoneafternoonofsummertoafishing-villageinthe
NorthofFrance.Afterameal,delicateanddainty,ofanomelet,a
chicken,deliciousfruit,abottleofwhitewine,andcoffee,they
strayedouthandinhandoverthesand-hills.Theyhadnotyetforgotten
tobelovers.

Amidthecorn-fieldsandthesand-dunestheycameuponatinychapel
opentothesea-wind.

Theyhadbeentalkingofthelittleangelwhohadgonewiththemonall
theirwanderings.WhentheywenthomeatlasttoWolvercote,Waring
said,theywouldbuildhimashrine.Hewouldhaveitthatthelittle
angelhadbroughtthemtogether—wouldbringthemyettogreaterjoysif
thatwerepossible.WherevertheywentWaringwouldsethimupintheir
roomtowatchoverthem.Hewasbeautifulenoughtobeamiracle,
Mildredsaid,whenWaringtalkedofthelighthehadseenaboutthe


littlefigure.Tobesurethatwasanillusionoftheillnesswhichwas
creepinguponhim;butevenwithMildredthechild-angelhadfounda
placeinherheart,perhapswithapremonitionofthechildthatwasto
come.

Waringhadbeentalkinghalf-whimsicallyoftheshrinehewouldmake.
Theysteppedacrossthethresholdofthelittlechapelontotheblue
andwhitetilesofthefloor.Theprie-dieusoverflowedintotheopen
air.Withintherewasonlyspaceforthegarishlittlealtarwithits
artificialflowers,thescreenbehindwhichthepriestvestedhimself,
andadozenchairsatmost.

Astheywentinthefullwesternlightstreamedwithinthechapel.As
theylookedtheycriedoutinamazement.Onalittlesidealtar,witha
rowofvotivetapersinfrontofit,wasaphotographofthelittle
angel.Therewasnomistakingit;thetenderlittleface,thepraying
hands,thewings—whytheverychippingswerereproducedfaithfully.

Whiletheystaredinamazementthesmallcurewiththeround
good-humouredfaceandcurlyhair,whomtheyhadalreadysalutedinthe
villagestreet,cameinbehindthem.Therewereacoupleofboyacolytes


followinghim.Peoplecamedownfromthevillageandtookthechairs
outsidethechapel.

Waringturnedtothecure.“Thelittleangel,monsieur?”hesaid,
indicatingthepicture.“IfancyIhaveseenitbefore.”

“Alas!”Thecurewasvestinghimselfwithcharacteristicenergy.
“Monsieurwillhaveseenthelittleangelinformeryears.Itwasa
miraculousimagecastupbythesea.Ithadwroughtmanycures,procured
manyfavours.Itwasthepatronofthevillage.Alas,itisfiveyears
agosince,duringtheweekofthepatronage,thechapelhadbeenrobbed,
strippedbare.Andwitheverythingelsehadgonethelittleangel.There
hadbeenbadseasonssince,stormsatsea.Thepeopleweredesolatedfor
thelittleangel.Whilehewaswiththemheprocuredthemmanygraces.”

“Ifheweretoberestored!”Waringwasexcitedwiththeprospective
excitementofthevillageattherestorationofitsangel.

“IfitwerethewillofGod!”Thecureshruggedhisshouldersandflung
outhishands.Plainlyheexpectednomiracle.



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