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into a chair, not knowing what to do. She had no bread for breakfast, and only fourpence left when the money for rent was taken out of her purse and placed in readiness for the landlady on Monday. Her room was on the third floor of the house, and Margaret knew quite well that to try to descend all those steps was an utter impossibility, much more to attempt to walk to High Street for her bundle of work.
"What am I to do?" she asked herself. An answer came at once, "Remember your prayer. Cast thy burden upon the Lord and He shall sustain thee!" a voice seemed to say. And Margaret did so; and then, in peace and calmness, made up her mind to the inevitable, and proceeded to look her position in the face. There she was, a suffering woman alone in her room, and many hours would very likely elapse before any one came to her; for the woman of the house never troubled herself about her lodgers so long as they behaved themselves and paid their rent regularly every Monday morning. How long would she have to remain thus faint and in pain? Margaret could not tell.
She remembered that she had been told that either Saturday or Monday would do for the work she was to fetch, so that her non-appearance at the establishment would not be noticed, and no one would be sent to inquire the reason. Then the next day would be the Sabbath, so that it might be Monday noon before her absence was noticed. Oh, what might not happen before then? Satan suggested that she might perish for want of food and warmth, and that it surely was unkindness on God's part to leave her in such straits; but Margaret remembered her prayer, and answered the tempter, "It is the Lord: let Him do what seemeth Him good." "Though he slay me, yet will I trust him."
The day wore on, and the pain in Margaret's limbs grew more and more violent, probably increased by lack of nourishment, and her faith was indeed sorely tried through the long weary hours. Far below on the pavement she heard the tramp of hurrying feet, and the hum of street life rose up to her room; but no foot ascended her stairs- no voice out of all that murmured beneath spoke to her,
and Margaret realised that truly she was alone, fighting a battle, or, rather, was parrying the attacks of an enemy, single handed, with only the shield of faith to protect her. Cut off from all human help, apparently, she was, or seemed to be, at the mercy of her opponent; and grievous were the shots he aimed at each weak place in her armour. Arrows of doubt, and fear, and mistrust were his weapons also; but the shield of faith met them as they flew, and blunted their points, until the great adversary was fain to retire for a season; and the weary woman, almost worn-out with the conflict, fell into a sleep towards evening, from which she awoke to find the room in darkness, the fire quite out, and the noise of bolting and barring up for the night going on below. Poor Margaret! In desperation she grasped the table and rattled it on the floor, hoping to attract attention from those below; but it was a vain hope, for silence settled over the house, and Margaret's hope was alone in God. To Him she turned, and in Him she rested, and made the best of her position. Steadying herself by the table she strove to stand up
right, but the pain of tightened nerves and sinews were so excruciating that, with a groan, she sank back into her chair with the ejaculatory prayer, "Lord, increase my faith, and give me not over to doubt." Then removing the cover from the table, she wrapped it round her shivering form, and waited for the relief which she believed, in some form or other, God would surely send. So, in watching, and fasting, and prayer, passed that eventful night, and the morning of the blessed Sabbath dawned, and Margaret saw the golden sunlight stream into her room. But the pain, which had now reached her head, was so torturing that she could only close her eyes and wait. The morning passed, and as the chimes were playing three, a light tread was heard upon the lower stairs, and Margaret's heart said, "God has sent me some help at last!" Higher came the steps, till they paused outside her door, and a gentle voice said, "May I come in, Mrs. Leigh?" Yes, the trial of faith was over for the time. God had sent help to His servant in her extremity. By what means we must relate in the next chapter.
ITH a thankful
"I know," Margaret said simply. "God has sent you to me; you are His messenger!"
"Perhaps so," Louise answered, to the smiling; "at any rate, I felt an knock, irresistible desire to visit you; I "Please could not have rested without open the coming. But have you been ill since Thursday, Mrs. Leigh?" she continued, changing her tone into one of earnest sympathy, as she noted the pain-contracted features, also the fireless grate, and the bed which remained as Margaret had left it on the previous morning.
By degrees Louise learned from the suffering woman a little of the history of these past days, and she marvelled at the intense joy which
door," and in another moment beheld the same sweet face she had looked upon a day or two before at the establishment in High Street. It was Louise Ashley. She stepped forward to the chair where Margaret sat, and extended her hand, saying, "Forgive me, Mrs. Leigh, but I felt I must come and see you this afternoon, I hardly know why."