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Mr. Claghorn's Daughter
written by "Trent, Hilary"
...with scorn. His attention was attracted by a plainly dressed woman standing in a side aisle; to his surprise, he recognized his wife. She did not see him as he softly approached her. A sunbeam breaking through the clouds outside shone through a window and lit up her face, displaying to him a new expression, a look of yearning and of love which beautified it; a look he had never seen before; he recognized the fact with a vague sense of pain. That which he saw, like that which he felt, was but momentary. She turned, looking at him at first with an abstracted gaze, then startled, as though waking from a dream. "Leonard!" she exclaimed in a low voice. It sounded like fear. "Even so, my dear. Why are you here alone?" "I—I—don't know. I was tired." "Has this spectacle moved you so?" He pointed to the worshippers. "No, not that. I wish I were as good as they; I have watched them often." "Often?" he repeated. He was somewhat indignant at that wish, that she, his wife, were as good as these idolaters; but it was plain that she was deeply moved by something, and he was very tender. "Do you come here often?" "I have done so, Leonard." There was humility in her tone, there was confession; had he known it, there was a cry for aid. "Natalie," he said, with some reproach for her, and feeling not a little for himself, "I hope you are not attracted by the glitter of Romanism. Surely you can pray in your closet!" "I do not pray in the churches," she said. "I did not know that my visits to them would annoy you." "Not at all, my dear," he replied. "I can understand that you like to enjoy the architectural beauties and the solemn influence. But upon me the crucifixes, the holy water, the vestments—in short, the frippery—these things have a less agreeable effect. They savor of gross superstition." It was true that she did not pray in the churches. Something restrained her; perhaps the very memories which ha...

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