Louisa May Alcott: Rose in Bloom


Two days after Christmas a young man of serious aspect might have been seen entering one of the large churches at L----. Being shown to a seat, he joined in the services with praiseworthy devotion, especially the music, to which he listened with such evident pleasure that a gentleman who sat nearby felt moved to address this appreciative stranger after church.

"Fine sermon today. Ever heard our minister before, sir?" he began, as they went down the aisle together among the last, for the young man had lingered as if admiring the ancient building.

"Very fine. No, sir, I have never had that pleasure. I've often wished to see this old place, and am not at all disappointed. Your choir, too, is unusually good," answered the stranger, glancing up at several bonnets bobbing about behind the half-drawn curtains above.

"Finest in the city, sir. We pride ourselves on our music, and always have the best. People often come for that alone." And the old gentleman looked as satisfied as if a choir of cherubim and seraphim "continually did cry" in his organ loft.

"Who is the contralto? That solo was beautifully sung," observed the younger man, pausing to read a tablet on the wall.

"That is Miss Moore. Been here about a year, and is universally admired. Excellent young lady couldn't do without her. Sings superbly in oratorios. Ever heard her?"

"Never. She came from X, I believe?

"Yes, highly recommended. She was brought up by one of the first families there. Campbell is the name. If you come from X , you doubtless know them."

"I have met them. Good morning." And with bows the gentlemen parted, for at that instant the young man caught sight of a tall lady going down the church steps with a devout expression in her fine eyes and a prayer-book in her hand.

Hastening after her, the serious-minded young man accosted her just as she turned into a quiet street.

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