A Meeting Half-Way

Mary E. Wilkins

From Harper's Bazar Vol. XXIV No. 15 (April 11, 1891)

Janet Doane went down the village street with her little granddaughter. The little girl went lingeringly, dragging at her grandmother's hand and stubbing her small toes. A tiny triangle of plaid shawl was pinned tightly across her shoulders; her great braid of yellow hair seemed to drag her delicate little head backward, and upturn her face like a flower. There was a curious likeness between the old woman's small face, rimmed with a circle of black bonnet, and the child's. One was wrinkled and dim, the other smooth and full of lovely new light, but they showed what each other would be and had been. It was like an agreement of history and prophecy. Seventy years ago Janet had looked like little Annie; seventy years hence little Annie would look like Janet.

The two went on down the road. They met nobody; hardly a face appeared at a window as they passed. It was the latter part of the forenoon, and most of the village women were in their kitchens preparing dinner.

The sun was warm, and the air was very sweet and moist. The brook that flowed through the Suffield meadows was swollen with the spring rains, and its gurgling rush could be plainly heard. Now and then the red breast of a robin slanted in a ploughed field beside the road. Over on the distant edge of the field two men and a horse were at work ploughing, and faint shouts floated across. The little girl stared back at them as she went on, but Janet never noticed nor heard the shouts.

They had walked nearly a half-mile, when they reached Dorcas Reed's house. She was Annie's other grandmother, her father's mother. The house had a curious look for a private dwelling. The gable end of its steeply slanting roof was next the road; the front door was wide and recessed, and approached by a broad flight of steps; over it was a green-blinded double window, with a Gothic top. A row of doves sat on a square structure which capped the gable end. It looked like an extinct church steeple, and in fact was one from which the belfry and spire had been removed. The building was painted white, but the double front door was of some dark wood. In the recess before it was a little group of children; their bright dresses and yellow heads made them look like flowers against the dark background. They were raising a sweet shrill little clamor.

When they saw Janet and Annie coming there was silence for a second, then they shouted, and ran in a little flock to meet them. There were three girls and a boy. The boy was the youngest, hardly more than a baby, and the three girls were all younger than Annie. All the children looked like Janet; they were as unmistakably of her lineage as the row of birds on the church tower were all doves.

Janet went around to the side door, and the children straggled at her heels. There was an odor of boiling meat and vegetables, and Annie sniffed it hungrily. “Gramma Reed's gettin' dinner,” said she. Janet compressed her lips.

The side door opened directly into a great kitchen. A large old woman stood at the stove looking into a steaming pot; a younger one was stirring something at a table. The windows were all misty, and warm gusts, laden with the odors of turnips and beets and cabbage, came from the seething pots on the stove. A momentary gleam came into Janet's eyes — she was very hungry — then she suppressed it.

The large old woman looked around. “Oh, it's you, Mis' Doane,” said she. She set a rocking-chair for her. “Sit down, won't you? How do you do?”

“I'm pretty well, thank you,” replied Janet. But she did not sit down; she remained standing, with a hesitating air.

“Ain't you goin' to sit down? You look all beat out.” There was a kind of imperious amiability in Dorcas Reed's large dull-colored face, with its double chin and curving nose.

“I wanted to speak to you a minute, if it's convenient,” said Janet, in a low voice; she looked significantly at the woman before the table.

Dorcas nodded. She went to the stove again, lifted a lid from a kettle, and plunged a fork into the contents. “That turnip's done,” said she. “Sarah, you can take it up now an' mash it, an' see that the potatoes don't burn. Now, children, you all of you run out till dinner's ready; mebbe Annie 'll stay to dinner. Run out, Emile. I ain't goin' to have you hangin' round Sarah whilst she's takin' up the dinner; you'll get scalt or somethin'.” Dorcas waved her hand toward the door, and the children flocked out. “Take care of Georgy; don't let him tumble down,” she called after them. Then she turned to Janet. “Won't you walk into the sittin'-room?” said she.

And Janet followed her out, while the servant-girl stared after them with resentful curiosity. She was a woman from a neighboring village, and fully as well-born as her mistress; indeed, her father had been a poor minister. She sat at the family table, and felt injured if she were omitted from the family councils. At intervals, as she prepared the vegetables for dinner, she stopped, fixed her eyes upon the sitting-room door, and listened to the low hum of voices, but she could not distinguish a word. Curious and resentful as she felt, she was above listening at the door itself.

Janet, as soon as she had entered the sitting-room, had begun; all her hesitancy had fled. “I've brought Annie back,” said she.

Dorcas looked at her in a bewildered way. “Yes; can't you both of you stay to dinner?”

“You don't know what I mean,” said Janet. “To-day is Thursday; the three days she stays a week with me ain't out till to-morrow. I've brought her back to-day because I can't feed her. I haven't got enough to give her another meal.”

Dorcas stared at her.

“My money's gone,” said Janet.

“Your money?”

“Yes. I had seven hundred dollars when Amos died; it's lasted me ever since; now it's gone. I 'ain't got anythin' but the house, an' I ain't goin' to put any mortgage on that if I starve to death. I'm goin' to have a roof over my head anyway. Jane White pays me a dollar a month for my north room, but that ain't enough so I can keep Annie the three days a week.”

“I shouldn't think 'twas. Mis' Doane, you don't mean to say you think you're goin' to live on that dollar a month yourself?”

Janet nodded.

“Why, you can't; you'll starve to death!”

“Then I'll starve to death, that's all.” Suddenly Janet's face changed. She felt in her black skirt for her handkerchief.

Dorcas had hers in her hand. “There! take mine,” said she. “Now you set down; there ain't no use standin' up.”

She pushed Janet toward a chair, then she sat down opposite. Janet wiped her eyes furtively with the handkerchief.

“Now look here, Mis' Doane,” said Dorcas, “I'm goin' to talk real plain. You can't live on a dollar a month, there ain't no use talkin' about it, an' there ain't no need of it. I've always thought a good deal of you ever since George married your Jenny; and now they're both dead an' gone, I feel as if I thought more'n ever, though I ain't given to sayin' soft things. There's jest that one point we don't agree on, an' if we could fix that up betwixt us, I don't see any reason why we shouldn't live together an' be comfortable. Then there's another thing” — suddenly Dorcas lowered her voice. “I ain't very well satisfied with Sarah. She don't do things my way, an' she won't stan' a mite of tellin'. She 'ain't got no knack with the children neither. I can't leave 'em with her a minute; an' if I set her to washin' an' dressin' Georgy, it takes her about half a day, an' then she washes his face jest as if it was a pie plate, an' gits on everything hind side before. I hate a hired girl worse than pison anyway, an' I believe I'd ruther have an Injun squaw than a minister's daughter who's got an idee she was born on the top heap of all the doctrines, an' knows how to work without bein' told. Can't tell her nothin'. She was jest as huffy as she could be because I wouldn't let her put the potaters on to boil an hour before dinner-time to-day. Said she always boiled her potaters an hour. ‘Well,’ says I, ‘if you want to, you can boil your potaters a week, but you ain't goin' to boil mine but half an hour.’ Then she shut up, but she slatted round in a way that didn't seem to me very becomin' for a minister's daughter. He was a Baptist, an' a terrible poor preacher, I've always heard. Now if you come here, I'd let her go; so you wouldn't have no reason to feel a mite dependent. I know you're jest as good a house-keeper as I be, an' we could git along first rate, if you only felt as if you could make up your mind to —”

Dorcas hesitated and looked at Janet, who looked back at her in a piteous strained fashion.

“I hope you won't be put out if I speak real plain,” said she.

“No, I sha'n't.”

“Well, I'll come right to the point. You know how I feel about your meetin'. It don't seem to me as if we could get along an' not have any hard feelin's toward each other if I staid to home an' hed my little meetin' with the children every Sunday, an' you went trapesin' off to your 'Piscopal meetin'. I never felt as if there was any sense in folks tryin' to live together if they didn't go to the same meetin'. If you could only jest make up your mind to stay to home Sabbath-days, an' have meetin' with me an' the children.” Dorcas spoke up in a smart masterful way, but she did not look squarely at Janet.

Janet was quite pale. “I don't feel as if I could,” said she. Her voice was very soft.

Dorcas went on as if she had not heard her. “There's plenty of room here; I guess you'd be real comfortable,” said she. She cast a complacent glance around, and Janet's eyes followed hers.

The room was very large; there was a diamond-patterned red carpet; against a wall was a red plush sofa, flanked by two red plush arm-chairs; over the sofa was a round clock in a gilt frame like a gigantic watch. Dorcas had put a piece of pink tarlatan over the clock to protect it from dust and flies.

“You could have the room openin' out of this,” said Dorcas. “It's got two south winders, an' you could keep plants if you wanted to.”

Janet shook her head. “I'm 'fraid I can't, Mis' Reed.”

“I thought you'd like to be with the children, Mis' Doane; you was so set on havin' Annie them three days a week.”

“I should, you know, Mis' Reed. It ain't that.” Janet's voice quavered.

“Look here, Mis' Doane, there was your daughter Jenny, that you'd brought up 'Piscopal, she went to my meetin' with George, an' you didn't hold out about it.”

“He was her husband.”

“Well, all I've got to say is, I've done the best I could to be a friend to you. If you won't, you won't. I ain't goin' to urge. Of course if you'd ruther go to 'Piscopal meetin' than live in a good home with your own grandchildren, I ain't got nothin' to say.”

Sarah out in the kitchen heard Dorcas's loud sarcastic voice.

Janet arose and folded her shawl closer, as if she were also infolding her own will. “I hope you won't lay up anythin' against me, Mis' Reed,” said she; “an' I hope you'll come over an' see me sometimes.”

“Thank you, Mis' Doane; I don't git time to go out much,” replied Dorcas, stiffly.

“My Easter lilies are comin' out beautiful.”

“I don't know nothin' about Easter lilies; all I know about is lilies. I don't want nothin' to do with any old Popish notions. I don't want no Easter lilies nor no Easter Sabbath. The one kind of Sabbath I was brought up on is good enough for me — Goodness! there's them children to work on that bell again!” The house was full of a strange metallic din. The windows seemed to shake in it. Dorcas stamped violently. “Children!” she screamed — “children! let that alone! There I've got that old meetin'-house bell down cellar, an' them children do act as if they were possessed over it. They all git round, an' pound it with the poker an' hammer, an' it's enough to take anybody's head off. Children, you let that bell alone!” Dorcas hurried out, still calling to the children.

Janet went out through the kitchen. As she opened the side door the noise ceased, and Dorcas's imperative voice could be heard through the floor. Sarah stared furtively after her. Janet walked homeward as fast as she was able. She could smell the dinners cooking in the houses on the way; once she clinched her hands under her shawl as she went past.

Janet's house was an old wide-fronted cottage, scaling with gray shingles, upreared on a steep bank above the road level. Janet's knees almost failed her as she climbed the settling stone steps that led up to it. She opened the door, and a great fragrance of lilies came in her face. “I can smell them lilies 'way out here,” she muttered.

When she opened the inner sitting-room door the fragrance was so intense that it seemed to have almost the force of a wind. There were two south front windows in the room, and before each of them stood a table filled with pots of lilies, all in bloom.

Janet sat down in her rocking-chair to rest a few minutes before removing her bonnet and shawl; she closed her eyes and panted softly. It was half an hour before she got up, went into the bedroom to lay away her wraps, then returned and stood over the lilies. She bent her old face down among them and took a deep breath. “It's 'most as good as victuals an' drink,” she muttered.

The door opened, and she did not hear it.

Dorcas Reed's servant-woman stood there. She held a large plate covered with a towel. “Mis' Doane,” said she, sharply.

Janet turned and looked at her with a great start.

“Mis' Reed sent this over,” said Sarah. Her harsh, thin face confronted Janet grimly.

“What is it?”

“B'iled dinner.”

“I guess — I can't take it. You tell Mis' Reed I'm much obliged.”

“Ain't goin' to take it?”

“No — I guess I can't, Sarah. I don't — feel as if I could.”

Sarah turned about with a twitch. “Well,” said she, “I ruther guess I wouldn't have trapsed 'way over her an' left my dinner dishes if I'd known. I ruther guess it's the last time Mis' Reed 'll git me to go on any such errand as this, that's all I've got to say. I never saw any such strife in families before. You try to be terrible private, but when folks speak up so loud that you can hear 'em all over the house, 'tain't much use goin' into sittin'-rooms an' shuttin' doors. I never was used to any such work, an' I ain't goin' to stan' it. I've got chances. There's another place where I can go any minute, I'll let you know, an' there ain't five young ones to run an' 'tend for, neither. I ain't beholden, an' Mis' Reed 'll find out I ain't, if she orders me round much more. I guess you'll know it too, Mis' Doane, when I bring you over anything more; an' I ain't afraid to say it right to your face.” Sarah went out; the door slammed.

Janet stood trembling. “I couldn't help it,” she said, piteously, as if she were excusing herself to somebody. “I can't take anything as a gift that there's been a price set on nohow.”

She looked between the lilies at Sarah going down the steps to the road with indignant jerks of her hips, and quailed. Janet, for all her persistency, had very little self-complacency to serve as a cushion between her heart and the wrath of her enemies.

She went to the secretary beside the chimney-place, and opened the glass doors lined with green baize. The shelves were quite full of books. Janet was fond of reading. Dorcas had always considered that she spent too much time in that way. Janet took from a shelf an old history of early New England, sat down in her rocking-chair, and turned to the chapter describing the privations of the Plymouth colonists. She read it through carefully, with her lips compressed. “I guess I can stand it,” she muttered; “there ain't anything to bear that other people 'ain't gone through with.” She leaned her head back and closed her eyes. The history lay spread open upon her lap at the page wherein the Pilgrim Fathers toiled and starved and buried their dead. It was odd that this old woman, suffering because of directly opposite religious views, could derive any consolation from the Pilgrims' comradeship in tribulation; but martyrs for different faiths might fraternize perforce in the same fire. Janet quite lost sight of the fact that those old heroic colonists suffered for their hatred of her own belief. The suffering was all she considered now.

“Those women must have had a terrible time,” she murmured. It seemed to her that the gaunt, steadfast faces of those Puritan women came between her and the lilies. She had eaten scarcely a mouthful for twenty-four hours, and she felt faint and weak. Her head was full of half-delirious fancies. She reflected how she had not a cent in the house with which to buy food; how she would not have until the next night, when Jane White would be paid her monthly wage at the woollen mill, and would give her the dollar for the room rent. She wondered if she would have enough strength to go to the store and buy some food. It seemed to her that it would be like the ship from England sailing into Plymouth Harbor to relieve the colony when Jane should come into her room with the dollar.

Presently her head dropped toward one shoulder, and her mouth opened — she had fallen asleep. She had slept none the night before for dread of this very experience; now it had come, she fell asleep upon it.

It was growing dusky when the opening of the sitting-room door aroused her. She raised her head, and looked with bewildered eyes. It seemed to her for a minute as if she saw the white sails of the English ship. “Who is it?” she said, feebly.

“It's me. I didn't hear anything of you, so I thought I'd look in an' see how you was gettin' along.”

“Oh, it's you, Jane. What night is it?”


“So 'tis.”

Jane stepped closer to Janet. She had a fair, pleasant face, and her figure was pretty and trim in her coarse dress. “Look here, Mis' Doane,” said she, “I don't know but you want that money, and I'd just as lief let you have it to-night as not; but I haven't a cent myself till I get paid off. I sent away every dollar I had left yesterday. Father's worse, and he ain't earning anything, and mother wrote she didn't know how they were goin' to get along. I'd let you have it in a minute if I could.”

Janet shook her head. She was more exhausted than before her sleep.

Jane looked at her in a frightened way. “Why, Mis' Doane,” she cried out, “what's the matter?”


“Nothin'? Why, you're as white as a sheet, an' you look all fallen away. I'm goin' to make you a cup of tea.”

“No; I don't want any.”

“Well, I'm goin' to get you a tumbler of water, anyway. I don't believe but what you're faint.”

“No, no.” Janet motioned feebly with her hand; but the girl went out into the kitchen.

She opened the pantry door softly, got a tumbler off the shelf, and cast a sharp glance around. She even lifted the lid from a jar, and peered in. She filled the tumbler with water from the kitchen pump, and carried it in to Janet. “There, drink this, Mis' Doane,” said she. “It 'll make you feel better perhaps.” Her voice was very gentle and pitying.

Janet drank the water. “Thank you,” said she. “I didn't know I was so thirsty. I don't know what came over me. I guess I've been asleep. It always makes me feel kind of bad to go to sleep in the day-time.”

“Yes; I think it's apt to,” assented the girl. “Well, if there ain't anything else I can do, I guess I'll go home an' get supper.”

“No, there ain't a thing to do,” said Janet. “I'm much obliged. That water tasted real good.”

The girl went out. Janet sat still a while longer. The dusk increased. Presently she got up, and lighted a lamp on the table. She drew her chair close to it, and read again the chapter about the privations of the Plymouth colonists. She had nearly finished, and the English ship was again nearly in Plymouth harbor, when the door opened, and Jane White entered. She had a plate of milk toast in one hand, and a steaming cup of tea in the other.

“I thought I'd bring you in a little of my supper,” said she. “I didn't know as you'd feel able to cook any yourself.”

Janet looked at the plate. Her blue eyes had the earnest stare of a hungry animal.

“No, thank you,” said she. “I'm much obliged, but I can't take it. I ain't goin' to beg from anybody that's really poorer than I am. I've got this house.”

“You can't eat the house, Mis' Doane,” said Jane, trying to be merry. “An' you ain't beggin'. Can't I give you a little bit of my supper if I'm a mind to?” Jane advanced; but the old woman put out both hands, and motioned her away.

“No, I won't,” said she — “I won't take it. Go away!” Suddenly she lost her self-control. She put her hands to her face, and rocked herself to and fro. “I won't, I won't, I won't!” she sobbed. “I won't take anything from anybody but the Lord. I could go to Mis' Reed's, an' stay with the children, an' have everything I want if I'd only give up my meetin'; but I won't. Oh, I dun'no' what I'm tellin' you all this for. I've got all unstrung since mornin'. Go away! Do go away! I'm real obliged to you, but I can't take it. Do go away! That's a good girl. Do go!”

“Of course I will, if you want me to, Mis' Doane,” said Jane, and went out softly.

Janet sat beside the table and cried, and some tears fell upon the story of the Plymouth colony. “Oh, I'm spoilin' it!” she moaned. She shut up the history, and laid it on the table. Just then the door opened softly, and something was set inside on the floor; then the door was closed.

“What's that? Who's there?” said Janet, in a startled voice.

She got up, and went to the door. On the rug before it were the plate of toast and the cup of tea; beside them lay a piece of white paper. Janet picked it up, and looked at it.

The poor mill-girl who lived in the north room had had an inspiration for her tender charity. On the paper was written, in a pretty girlish hand, “From the Lord.”

Janet took the plate and the cup up from the floor, and carried them to the table. “I'll take 'em,” she sobbed — “I'll take 'em jest the way she wanted me to.” While she was eating, she heard the front door shut. “She's gone out somewhere,” she thought. She did not dream that Jane had gone to see Mrs. Reed about her. She washed the plate and cup, set them in the north room, then she went to bed and to sleep.

Her rest that night was more tranquil than that of another woman half a mile down the road. Dorcas could see Janet as the young girl had pictured her — sobbing, and faint with hunger.

“She'll starve to death before she gives in. I know her well enough to know that,” Jane had said, speaking up quite boldly, and overcoming her girlish awe of this imperious well-to-do old woman.

Dorcas lay awake and thought. It would be a terrible struggle for her to give up her own way, and take in Janet without any condition affixed. In this matter of the Episcopal church she had that fiercest of all bitterness — the bitterness of a conquered party. The history of the little Episcopal church in Suffield was a peculiar one; it was, in a way, a usurper. Twenty years before, the one church in the village had been Congregational. Then a new young minister with ritualistic leanings, some latent sympathizers in the parish, and an offer from a rich summer resident to build a fine Episcopal church, all brought about the change.

There were furious dissenters, but they were in the minority, and few of them belonged to the village aristocracy. They were too poor to support a church and minister by themselves. The new stone Episcopal church, with its tower, its Gothic roof, and its stained-glass windows, was built, the sweet chimes rang, and the choir boys sang; but the poor old white Congregational church was locked and silent of a Sunday.

Finally there was talk of selling it, and fitting it up for a tenement-house for the employés of the woollen mill. Then Dorcas Reed arose and showed the fierceness of her adherence to her own religious tenets. She was a widow with one son, too young to oppose her. She had considerable property, and owned a nice house. She sold the house, bought the old Congregational church, and had it fitted up as a dwelling, with as little alteration as might be in its exterior. She used the church carpets, and put the pulpit furniture in her parlor. Every Sunday of her life she sat upon that red plush sofa which had once figured in the old Congregational pulpit, and read a sermon; then she stood up and made a prayer. The five children sat before her in a row, headed by Sarah. None of them could sing, so Dorcas read the hymns.

Even the remaining Congregationalists, who eschewed the Episcopal church zealously enough, were somewhat ashamed of Dorcas's demonstration. The Episcopalians ridiculed openly, but Dorcas kept on her way.

She thought it all over that night. “I can't give up nohow,” she said; “an' I don't know as she'd come now if I did. An' we can't live together nohow if we go to different meetin's. Poor little cretur, there wa'n't never much to her; it won't do for her to go without eatin' so. She sets a heap by the children; there's Annie cried to go back to her to-night. I don't see what she's goin' to eat to-morrer. I don't darse send her anything, and Jane said she didn't know as she could make her take anything more.” Dorcas finally went to sleep, and the first thing she thought in the morning was, “I don't see what she's goin' to have to eat to-day.”

It was also the first thing that the girl in Janet's north room thought. Her own store was small enough, but she could spare of it if Janet would only accept. She feared she would not the second time.

Janet herself, coming to the door, solved the difficulty. “I ain't goin' to have you give me any more,” said she; “but I'll borrow two slices of bread, if you've got 'em to spare till to-night.”

Jane cut two thick slices from her loaf. Janet went home with them, and made her breakfast of one. By-an-by little Annie came over without her hat. She had run away. She teased for a cooky. Janet cut a great bunch of lilies for her, and sent her home.

“I sha'n't never make her any more cookies,” she sobbed, when she was gone.

Jane came home early that night, and brought in the money. “I wish I could pay you more,” she said, wistfully. “I know it ain't half enough for the room.”

“It's as much as I've ever got from it since Amos died,” said Janet. “Nobody has had it that was able to pay any more.”

“Well, if you get a good chance to let it for men, you must take it,” said Jane, as she went out.

“I wouldn't turn you out, I ruther guess,” murmured Janet, looking after her, with her dollar in her hand. She put on her bonnet and shawl, went out, and bought a loaf of bread and a pound of Graham-flour. She returned the two slices of bread to Jane before she went to bed.

The next day was Easter Sunday. Early in the morning some boys came to carry her Easter lilies to the church; they always bore a prominent part in the decorations. Janet's Easter lilies were quite renowned in the community.

Janet started for church as soon as the chimes begun, although she had not far to go. It was a beautiful mild morning; the bare branches of the maples were glistening with swelling buds, and the noise of the brook could be heard, although the chimes were ringing.

People came out of their doors as she passed; the children carried lilies. There was a pretty little fashion in Suffield for the children to carry lilies to church on Easter Sunday. It was a fashion that Dorcas had often scoffed at.

Janet entered the church; there were not many there. She went to her pew and sat down. She pushed forward her little stool, and was about to kneel, when there was a movement at the door of the pew. Dorcas was coming in with the children; each of them carried a lily.

Janet moved along, and Dorcas sat down beside her, first lifting up the little boy. The little girls sat down close to each other, and gazed with great, earnest, half-frightened eyes. Dorcas sat erect, and looked straight before her. The organ began to play; the chancel was walled in with lilies. High above it, in a field of sapphire light, an angel stood, robed in red, his great gold wings folded, a trumpet at his lips. People entered their pews softly, and knelt.

All this — all the splendid adornments and ceremonies of the Church — had been accounted as obnoxious by this loyal descendant of the old Plymouth colonists. She had held them in aversion for the ancient reason, but more fiercely because they belonged to this church, which had put to flight her own beloved one. Easter, which had not been observed in her old white meeting-house twenty years ago, had seemed to her an alien festival.

Janet looked timidly at her. Dorcas turned and met her eyes.

“I'm goin' to have a chicken dinner to-day,” she whispered, “an' I'd like to have you come if you can.”

“I'd be happy to,” returned Janet, softly. Then she added, her face quivering, “I'll be willin' to go to your meetin', Mis' Reed.”

“Mebbe we can take turns,” Dorcas whispered back. She looked again at the chancel window, with a noble expression in her old face.

Janet wiped her eyes. She glanced at the stool at her feet; she had not yet knelt. Janet, on her mother's side, was not many generations from England. She had always been a church woman; she had always observed faithfully all the ceremonies of the Church. She looked at the stool. Suddenly it was as if the ancient strife had ended for both in a better Church than either had ever known. Janet folded her hands peacefully, and they sat straight and still through the Easter service, the old Church of England woman and the old Congregationalist, side by side.